‘Other Man’ Seen With Clementi Could Testify In Rutgers Webcam Spying Trial
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Another day of testimony in the trial stemming from the suicide of a Rutgers University student has concluded.
On Friday, the jury may hear from the other man who was in the room with Tyler Clementi when prosecutors say his roommate spied on him.
The other man, who has only been identified as M.B., has yet to take the stand and has tried desperately to keep his identity a secret.
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On Thursday, prosecutors questioned fellow Rutgers student Geoffrey Irving, who was on an ultimate frisbee team with defendant Dharun Ravi.
This morning, Irving told jurors that Ravi admitted to setting up his roommate.
“He told me he had set up a webcam of some sort to capture images of his roommate,” Irving said. “I’m not sure if he gave me a specific date, but he said that he did it before.”
For the first time, jurors were shown pictures of Ravi’s computer with the webcam sitting on top of the monitor.
Ravi’s attorneys argue he did not care about Clementi’s sexual orientation and set up the webcam because he was afraid his belongings were going to be stolen.
But this morning, Irving told another story.
“My observation his demeanor, he seemed uncomfortable of the situation.”
“Do you have any specific recollection about what he was talking about in reference to his roommate?” asked assistant prosecutor Julia McClure.
“I remember that it was brought up that he had a suspicion that his roommate was gay,” said Irving. “From my observation of his demeanor, he appeared uncomfortable with the situation.”
Earlier in the morning, defense attorney Steven Altman poked holes in the testimony of another witness for the prosecution, student Lokesh Ojha, who said Wednesday he helped Ravi set up the webcam and admitted he initially lied to investigators because he was scared.
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“I thought my college career was over,” Ojha said. “Because I helped him. I helped him set it up.”
Ojha said he went online to see the video from Ravi’s webcam on Sept. 21, 2010, the night Ravi posted on Twitter: “Anyone with iChat,I dare you to videochat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes, it’s happening again.”
“What were you expecting to see?” she asked.
“I didn’t know,” Ojha replied. “That’s why I clicked it.”
Altman also asked Ojha why he tried to connect to Ravi’s webcam.
“Curiosity to see if he was actually going to do it,” he said. “To see if Dharun was actually going to stream it.”
He then testified that the live stream that night never worked.
“I said: ‘Yo, it didn’t work.’ He said: ‘Yeah, I’ve been getting that from a lot of people. You’ve got to brush it off,”’ Ojha said.
Also testifying Wednesday was resident assistant Raahi Grover, who told jurors that Clementi had confided in him the day before the 18-year-old student committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Grover testified that Clementi complained about Ravi, saying he found out Ravi had set up a webcam and spied on his intimate encounter with another man.
“Tyler is quite upset and feels uncomfortable,” Grover read from an incident report he had written. “Tyler prefers some sort of roommate switch ASAP and prefers some sort of punishment for Dharun Ravi.”
Clementi then sent Grover an email, a portion of which jurors were allowed to hear.
“I feel my privacy has been violated,” Grover read. “I am extremely uncomfortable sharing a room with someone who would act in this manner.”
It’s the first time jurors have been able to hear from someone Clementi confided in and today, they may hear more from the man involved in the encounter.
M.B.’s attorneys have worked to keep his identity private, asking a judge to refuse to allow courtroom cameras to show his face during the trial.
On Monday, Molly Wei, who testified she watched the webcam stream with Ravi, described what Ravi told her about M.B.
“I remember he told me the guest was kind of an older man, not college age guy,” she said. “Just an older, shabbier looking guy.”
It’s still unclear how private M.B.’s testimony could be.
Ravi charged with bias intimidation and invading Clementi’s privacy. His attorneys say he didn’t care about Clementi’s sexual orientation.
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