NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The judge in the case of against a former Rutgers University student who is accused of broadcasting his roommate’s same-sex encounter over the web has refused to dismiss the charges.
Lawyers for Dharun Ravi asked that a hate crime charge against him be thrown out.
Dharun Ravi is accused of remotely activating his webcam to spy on a same-sex encounter between his roommate Tyler Clementi and another man.
Days after the incident, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
A judge ruled prosecutors have provided sufficient evidence to a grand jury for Ravi to be accused of invading Clementi’s privacy, bias intimidation and an attempted cover-up.
Ravi’s attorneys claim prosecutors are withholding evidence that could help clear their client.
The most serious charge against Ravi is bias intimidation, which alleges that Ravi acted because Clementi was gay, and carries prison time. Ravi pleaded not guilty.
In August, Ravi’s defense lawyer Steven Altman said in a brief that his client was not spying on Clementi.
Altman said Ravi initially turned on his webcam from a friend’s computer to see what was going on in the dorm room because he was concerned about whether the man Clementi had over might steal Ravi’s iPad. He stopped watching “two seconds” after seeing the men kissing, Altman said.
The judge ruled today the name of the other party involved in the caught-on-cam encounter be released to Davi’s defense attorneys.
Ravi’s lawyers also argued that prosecutors did not present evidence that Ravi would have broken the law by using a webcam to monitor what was happening in the dorm room he shared with Clementi, that he actually viewed any sexual images from his webcam, that he copied or distributed them, or that he deleted Twitter posts about what was on the webcam to hide evidence from investigators.
Altman also provided text messages he said Ravi sent Clementi at roughly the same time as the suicide. In the messages, Altman says Ravi expressed feeling guilty about what happened, and said he wanted to make amends.
19-year-old Molly Wei accepted a plea deal, and entered a pre-trial intervention program, which will allow for the criminal charges against her to be dropped if she upholds her end of the agreement. That could include her testimony against Ravi.
If Ravi is guilty, what would the appropriate punishment be in this case? Sound off in our comments section below…