Ex-rut­gers stu­dent ac­cused in we­b­cam spy­ing not tes­ti­fy­ing

Faces 15 counts af­ter room­mate took his own life

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY GE­OFF MULVI­HILL

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. | Ju­rors in the trial of a for­mer Rut­gers Univer­sity stu­dent ac­cused of us­ing a we­b­cam to spy on his room­mate’s in­ti­mate en­counter with an­other man will not hear di­rectly from the de­fen­dant.

Dharun Ravi’s de­fense lawyer rested his case Mon­day with­out call­ing Mr. Ravi to tes­tify.

The jury could be­gin de­lib­er­at­ing Tues­day or Wed­nes­day af­ter lawyers give their sum­ma­tions and the judge gives in­struc­tions.

Mr. Ravi’s lawyer, Steven Alt­man, said Mon­day that although he didn’t think there was any­thing to gain from hav­ing his client tes­tify, the jury might hear from him in­di­rectly in clos­ing ar­gu­ments.

Mr. Alt­man said he may play for them a video of a nearly hour­long state­ment Mr. Ravi made for an in­ves­ti­ga­tor days be­fore he was charged. In it, Mr. Ravi ac­knowl­edged us­ing his we­b­cam and see­ing what was hap­pen­ing in his dorm room, but he said he did not in­tend to do any harm.

The trial cap­tured in de­tail the ac­tions of Mr. Ravi and his ran­domly as­signed fresh­man room­mate, Tyler Cle­menti, over a few days in Septem­ber 2010, be­gin­ning when Mr. Cle­menti asked for privacy so he could have a guest over and con­tin­u­ing past when he com­mit­ted sui­cide by jump­ing off the Ge­orge Washington Bridge.

Mr. Ravi is not charged with his death. He faces 15 crim­i­nal counts, in­clud­ing in­va­sion of privacy and bias in­tim­i­da­tion. Seven of the charges are re­lated to ac­cu­sa­tions that he tried to cover his tracks by chang­ing Twit­ter mes­sages, delet­ing text mes­sages and telling an­other wit­ness what she should say.

Tes­ti­mony stretched over 12 days and in­cluded about 30 wit­nesses, in­clud­ing sev­eral col­lege stu­dents, along with school of­fi­cials and in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Ju­rors also heard from the other man in the streamed video; he was iden­ti­fied only by the ini­tials M.B.

With­out a chance to hear tes­ti­mony from Mr. Ravi, who told Judge Glenn Ber­man that it was his own decision not to get on the wit­ness stand, ju­rors may give more con­sid­er­a­tion to the one in­stance they did get to hear his voice. It came in a video of an in­ter­view he gave po­lice Sept. 23, 2010.

Mr. Ravi looked com­posed for an 18-year-old wear­ing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops when he was brought into a po­lice sta­tion. Word had spread that Mr. Ravi used his we­b­cam to view Mr. Cle­menti just days be­fore Cle­menti com­mit­ted sui­cide.

As he was ques­tioned, Mr. Ravi looked di­rectly at the in­ves­ti­ga­tor who grilled him and ac­cused him re­peat­edly of ly­ing. He talked quickly but his voice didn’t trail off.

Through­out the trial, Mr. Ravi sat about 20 feet from ju­rors wear­ing a suit, his for­merly un­kempt hair trimmed neatly. Some­times, he fid­dled with his tie. Some­times, he cracked a smile. Some­times, he whis­pered to his lawyers.

To con­vict him on the most se­ri­ous charge — bias in­tim­i­da­tion — prose­cu­tors will need to con­vince the jury that he acted out of an­i­mus against gays. He faces up to 10 years in prison if he’s con­victed of bias in­tim­i­da­tion, which is con­sid­ered a hate crime in New Jer­sey. Most peo­ple con­victed of the other charges he faces don’t get jail time.


For­mer Rut­gers Univer­sity stu­dent Dharun Ravi, ac­cused of us­ing a we­b­cam to spy on his room­mate’s in­ti­mate en­counter with an­other man, is not tes­ti­fy­ing in his trial. The room­mate, Tyler Cle­menti (above), com­mit­ted sui­cide days af­ter the al­leged spy­ing. Mr. Ravi faces 15 crim­i­nal counts.

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