NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former Rutgers University student accused of spying on his roommate has turned down a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and sought to prevent his deportation.

Appearing in court Friday with several relatives in attendance in a strong show of support, Dharun Ravi‘s lawyer told a judge that his client would proceed to trail, set for Feb 21.

Ravi allegedly used a webcam to watch his roommate, Tyler Clementi, have an intimate encounter with another man in their dorm room in Sept. 2010. Prosecutors said the video was then streamed live in an Internet chat room.

Clementi later jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge.

The judge says the state offered a deal with no prison time that would include community service, probation and counseling. Ravi’s attorney, Steven Altman, also says the state agreed to help Ravi if federal authorities sought to deport him. Ravi is in the U.S. legally, but is not a citizen. It is unclear where he’s from.

“Your client is rejecting the offer?” Judge Glenn Berman asked.

When Altman answered in the affirmative, Berman responded: “That’s your right.”

It’s not clear what the charges were under the plea agreement.

Altman said his client’s reason for rejecting the deal was simple.

“Simple principle of law, simple principle of life,” Altman said. “He’s innocent, he’s not guilty. That’s why he rejected the plea.”

The judge says he would accept a plea until jury summonses are sent out in January.

Ravi has pleaded not guilty to 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.

Earlier this week, Clementi’s mother told People Magazine this was his “favorite time of year…so we’re trying to find a new way to celebrate Christmas. I’m sad and trying to get through this.”

The magazine interview came out on the same day the teeanger’s parents launched the Tyler Clementi Foundation. In a statement they said they’re doing it because: “We want to do our part to help save lives and reduce the anguish of those who are tormented because of the way they look, their sexual orientation or just for being different.”

The accomplished violinist’s suicide touched off a national conversation on cyber-bullying.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (19)
  1. l.v says:

    he deserves to rot in jail, and be dare he deny a plea and say he is innocent, his selfishness and immorality pushed a HUMAN BEING to commit suicide, to take his own life.

    WELCOME TO AMERICA – I hope they throw the book at you, and you rot in hell.

    RiP Tyler Clementi

  2. amar says:

    yeah all he needs is 12 white guys in the jury in NJ where they are jealous of Indians, and he is screwed. If you have any doubt, check the comments above.

    Add to that the fact that his parents are doctors, and the jealousy of those 12 blue collar types will decide it for him.. The kid’s going to find out what the white americans actually consider him to be. Unfortunate.

  3. shelly says:

    doesnt the defendent have the right to a non jury trial..he’s taking a big chance going with a jury trial who will see the evil in him..but trial by judge would be his best alternative as a judge has to go by the law and probably wouldnt find him guilty

  4. SokrMom says:

    This guy must be getting the worst legal advice ever. He does not deny committing one of the most callous acts of invasion of privacy imaginable, and he apparently imagines that a jury will acquit him just because the victim was gay. I guess it speaks to how much he really thinks gay people are laughable. But I think Ravi will not be laughing when the verdict comes in.

    1. Meme Meyagi says:

      are you smarter than a soccer ball?

  5. max says:

    Of course he is gay but not according to your homphobic comment.
    If he wasnt gay tyler would never have confessed to him that he was going to have a male lover over.
    BTW grown the F up you homphobic piece of crap

  6. Joe says:

    This was quite simply invasion of privacy..anyone who disagrees obviously does not know NJ state law..this was not just a college prank..Mr. Clementi had a crime allegedly committed against him because he was gay..that is a Hate Crime. There is a reason this country has hate crime legislation and its to protect people like Mr. Clementi from people like Mr. Ravi.

  7. gotacomment says:

    And to top everything off, this creature is here in the U.S. sucking on the public udder for his education and who knows what all else. No one seems to know where he came from. Obviously our immigration policies need tightening more than ever. I hope he’ll find himself regretting not taking that plea deal. He’s one self-important little idiot badly in need of being taken down a peg or two.

    1. Cutter says:

      No One knows where he is from ???
      His family was there to support him ….where are they from ???

      1. gotacomment says:

        That’s what the article said. I read in the New York Daily News that he’s from India.

        1. amar says:

          so you do know where he is from. His parents are doctors, so I doubt if he is sucking the public teat for his education. What’s all your hate about? Keep in mind that his parents taxes will probably pay for your teen daughters drug rehab, pregnancy treatment, and your disability check ALLRIGHT you racists a-hole?

          1. gotacomment says:

            I have no teen daughters and I work and pay taxes like you do. Sounds to me you’re spouting off without any real information, just as you accuse me of doing. I have met and been treated by many excellent doctors who were born in India, but I don’t remember seeing anything about Ravi’s parents being medical professionals anywhere, so I’d like to be enlightened as to the source of your information.

  8. Meme Meyagi says:

    what is done about 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa?

  9. Surfin Bird says:

    Ravi is an idiot for not accepting

  10. ericm says:

    Ravi obviously did this as a college prank, and it went all wrong. Bad judgement? Yes. Criminal intent? No. It’s time to slap him on the wrist and move on. Probabtion is the worst that should happen here.

    I am so tired of the Court of Public Opinion deciding these cases. Any thinking person would realize that the ‘victim’ in this case was mentally unstable and would probably have killed himself eventually over some other depressing life event. perhaps the day his family found out he was gay.

    But to ruin this young man’s life over what amounts to a college prank – is a crime in and of itself.

    1. Brooklyn McDirtyshoes says:

      Invading someone’s privacy by setting up a hidden camera is more than a college prank. Broadcasting someones intimate moments, regardless of sexual orientation, is much more than a college prank. If the victim had been female and it was a heterosexual encounter that had been broadcast, would you still dismiss it as a simple prank? I think not.

      While it is not murder or even manslaughter, to dismiss the entire incident so lightly is shortsighted and sets an awful legal and moral precedent.

      1. Cutter says:

        Very well put

    2. max says:

      Unfortunately I sort of agree with you that there was no criminal intent but what he did is maliscious and viscious and we should send him back to the country he came from
      We have enough americans like that who needs foreigners
      Either way it is a shame for everyone

  11. DanTe says:

    This is obviously Not a Bias crime. Look at this guy and his geri curls. He’s obviously gay himself. He did the filming because he was jealous.

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