Defense Says Ravi Did Nothing Criminal

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) –– The prosecution tried to paint Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student charged with using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man, as someone who deliberately tried invade Tyler Clementi’s privacy during a trial on Friday.

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Ravi, 19, is facing 15 criminal counts including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation in connection with the death of the 18-year-old Clementi, who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in 2010 days after Ravi allegedly spied on him.

Clementi’s family, including his brother, sat in the front of the packed courtroom. In her opening statements Friday morning, Assistant Prosecutor Julia McClure said Ravi’s invasion of privacy of his roommate was deliberate and criminal.

“The defendant’s actions were very purposeful, intentional and planned in this case and they were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s sexual orientation and they were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s private, sexual activity,” McClure told the jury. “I would suggest to you that beyond that, they were mean-spirited, they were malicious and they were criminal.”

Rutgers student Cassandra Cicco told jurors she was one of a half-dozen students, including Ravi, who watched Clementi and the other man from another room.

Cicco testified Friday that she saw the webcast of the intimate encounter.  She said one of the men had his shirt off, but nothing other than the men “making out” was actually shown.

McClure said Ravi rigged his computer to capture Clementi in his gay encounter.

“He went into that automatic accept feature in the video iChat and he and his friend from across the hall viewed live images of Tyler Clementi and his male guest engaging in sexual activity in that room,” McClure said.

The defense says images of Clementi and the other man identified in court papers as ‘MB’ were never broadcast.  ‘MB’ is scheduled to testify next week.

McClure told the jury that Ravi had deprived Clementi of his privacy and dignity.

“It was like opening the blinds to the window of that room. He opened the blinds, he viewed what was going on through those blinds, he left the blinds opened and he invited and encouraged other people to look through those blinds,” McClure told the jury.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On The Case

But Ravi’s defense attorney, Steven Altman, told jurors that while his client may have acted poorly, he did nothing criminal.

“I can’t stand here and tell you that Dharun didn’t act like a boy or at times, childish and immature. You’re 18, I can’t say that,” Altman said. “But you have to decide if what he did was deliberate, was purposeful, was criminal.”

Altman said his evidence will show that Ravi did not break any laws and that he did not hate his roommate as some have suggested.

“Dharun never intimated anybody,” Altman said. “He never committed a crime, he never committed a hateful crime. You’re going to see in the evidence that he’s not homophobic, he’s not anti-gay. As I said, he never recorded his roommate.”

WATCH: CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reports

He also told the jury that his client only watched a few seconds of the webcam video of Clementi hugging another man.

“He never transmitted any images,” Altman said. “He never harassed his roommate, he never ridiculed his roommate, he never said anything bad about his roommate.”

But McClure said Ravi tweeted people on a public account and told them he had a webcam pointed at Clementi and the other man having an intimate encounter in their dorm room and said Ravi used the webcam not once, but twice to spy on his roommate.

Prosecutors said Ravi then tried to cover up what he allegedly did, asking friends to lie and deleting tweets and cell phone texts.

Molly Wei, another former Rutgers student, was also initially charged in the case but accepted a deal last year to avoid jail time and potentially a criminal record. She had to enter a pre-trial intervention program and agree to cooperate in the case against Ravi, among other conditions.

Ravi turned down a plea deal that would have also resulted in no time behind bars. His lawyers say it’s because he’s not guilty of any crimes. If found guilty, Ravi faces up to 10 years in prison.

Please share your thoughts below…

Comments (49)
  1. Judge Jewdy says:

    Despite what some may think, there IS a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in a public restroom, a fitting room in a department store and ONE’S DORM ROOM. Maids walk in on people in hotel rooms. Your roommate can walk in on you in a college dorm. They have keys. That is reasonable and expected. It is NOT reasonable nor expected that a roommate would deliberately set up a video camera in a shared dorm room and invite others to watch. That is a CLEAR invasion of privacy. It amounts to being an electronic PEEPING TOM.

  2. 2012 says:

    Oh please, so what if he didn’t like him or he said anything bad THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY WITH FREE SPEECH and people don’t have to like homosexuality. This country is really starting to get ridiculous.

    1. 1608 says:

      Check you tube you may be next.

  3. CID says:

    This dorm room that Ravi and Clementi shared, should be neutral.
    Clementi or anyone else should be smart enough not to perform a
    shameful act in a shared facility. The web cam should have been
    disabled. But if the web cam recorded drugs being prepared for
    sale or a bomb being built, then Ravi would be a hero.

    1. max says:

      the guy would never be a hero he is a piece of gutter slime

    2. Wilma says:

      “perform a shameful act.” I can hear that line being said by Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. Is there something shameful about “making out?” If you’re a GAY MALE it’s obviously going to be with another male. Since when is MAKING OUT something that’s SHAMEFUL? Except of course to BIBLE THUMPING, narrow minded, judgmental (and usually hateful and intolerant) BIGOTS?

      1. dakotahgeo says:

        Thank you, Wilma, I couldn’t have said it any better myself!
        Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

        1. Troy says:

          See the spiritual impact

          Rom_1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
          2Th_2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
          1Pe_5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

          1. Sean K says:

            Oh shut the hell up! Keep your relgious garbage to yourself

          2. dakotahgeo says:

            Y’ know, Troy, as a born-again Christian minister, I find you and your ilk repugnant to the nth degree. You use Jesus as a straw advert man, you bible thump everyone who doesn’t agree with your repulsive Bible quotes, and you are the farthest from actually doing what the Bible commands you to do as a Christian! Suffice it to say that an ass’s jawbone would do better as a Christian minister than you would. Your self-centered theology stinks to high heaven! Now shut up and take your meds and go to bed. Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  4. John says:

    Ravi deserves to rot in jail, what he did by taping Clementi with another man was cruel and he had every intention of outing this poor kid. Ravi is a piece of S***

  5. max says:

    Unfortunately I do not think this guy will get convicted. It is not his fault that tyler committed suicide although what he did contributed to his actions
    I think there should be some sort of punishment for this jerk
    His intentions were harmful and maliscious.
    It is unfortunate that people do not think they are worhty. If i was tyler I would have beat the crap out of this guy. I also feel there is more to this story.
    it is shame no matter how you look at.

  6. Moishe Rosenbaum says:

    NOT GUILTY !! Let him free !! It is Tyler Clementi’s fault for taking his own life !
    Do you know how many times college kids pulled the shower drape to expose me having sex with women in college? Did I jump off a bridge?

    I feel sorry for Tyler Clementi, but he chose to take his own life. CASE DISMISSED !!

    1. Sean K says:

      Oh man, I’m so glad someone else is here to share the heat I’ve been getting from these people. They all want this kid to either go back to India or rot in jail. I wonder how the would feel if it was their kid up on charges though.

      1. dakotahgeo says:

        Two wrongs don’t make a right, Shortstop!

    2. max says:

      I think the case is a little more involved than pulling the shower drape and exposing you having sex
      I personally wouldnt want to see any of you havig sex.
      What Ravi did was a billion percent wrong and should pay

    3. RingADingDing says:

      Personally, Moishe, I just can’t picture you in the shower having sex. But, hey, that’s my opinion .

    4. RingADingDing says:

      Personally, Moishe, I can’t picture you having sex in the shower. But, hey, that’s my opinion.

    5. numberfour says:

      He’s not being charged for muder, he is being charged for invasion of privacy, and he is GUITLY.

    6. NumberFour says:

      He’s not being charged for murder, he is being charged with invasion of privacy, and that he is GUILTY for.

  7. MaxineRocks says:

    Why is this even an issue? If he’d taped a female having sex and blasted it all over the internet, his butt would already be in jail serving time, he’d be on a fast track to deportation, and a civil lawsuit would be filed. He’d been offered ways to make amends and get out of this with minimal damage, but he’s arrogant and thinks he can get away with it – he can’t. Do the crime, do the time. This was no childish prank, and at 19, he SHOULD have had more sense. What he did was cruel and vicious, intended to cause the maximum humilation and pain for his own sick, perverted amusement.

    1. Sean K says:

      When we look back into the past we can always connect the dots and see the causality of things. But do you think that when Ravi did this he ever imagined that Clementi would take his own life? Now I’m sure at this point you’re saying “it doesn’t matter, he should have known better”. Do you know how many adults I see who allow their toddlers to play with dogs on the street? Now if one of these dogs were to attack one of these kids one day, should we charge the parent because he/she should’ve seen this as a possible outcome of her act? No, we wouldn’t. A civil suit is what’s appropriate in this case, not a criminal case.

      1. Jean says:

        Yes, hindsight is 20/20, it’s true. Although it wasn’t his intention that Tyler Clementi take his own life, it was absolutely his intent to humiliate him. He’s being charged with invasion of privacy, bias harrassment and the like, not manslaughter. No one ever did that to me but if they had, I wouldn’t take my own life but make his miserable. He’s too arrogant to see that what you do has consequences and like it or not, you have to face them If he doesn’t want to man up on his own, the courts will try to see to it that he does and maybe learn something from it

  8. wayne says:

    His mom and dad must be proud, he will get his some day GUILTY

  9. CT Native says:

    I betcha this piece of crap walks!!!!!

  10. John Ortega says:

    I remember David Ramos in 3rd grade called me a naughty word. It was deliberate, purposeful, and full of criminal intent. Can we find him and see if any charges can be filed?

    1. Michael H. says:

      Big difference between calling somebody a “doody head” and posting their sexual encounters on the internet for the world to see. Grow the hell up.

  11. Sean K says:

    What this kid did was stupid and thoughtless and the result of it was tragic and unfortunate, but if we started giving every teen in the US a 10 year sentence for pulling a stupid prank then we might as well invade Canada cause we’re gonna need more space to build prisons.

    1. jane says:

      Send him back to India. He won’t be able to go to school or find a job in this country because no schools or employers will take him regardless the outcome of the trial.

      1. Sean K says:

        I’m not going to touch on your “send him back to india” comment because I’m a racist as well so it would be hypocritical of me to do so. But it’s not like this kid took a bat to Clementi’s head while calling him a “f*g”. I’m sure as we’re discussing this right now some poor kid is slitting his/her wrist becuase he/she is getting teased about his/her weight, acne, sexual preference, etc. Bullying and pranks are a fact of life, it’s one of those things that help you develop tough skin.. Now what this kid did was beyond mean and for that Clementi should’ve stood up to him and taught him a lesson. But he chose to kill himself. I understand Clementi’s parents wanting justice for their son but if Casey Anthony can walk for killing her kid, why should this kid be facing 10 years behind bar? The guilt he has to face the rest of his life is going to be torture enough.

        1. dakotahgeo says:

          Uhhhhhhh, Sean… you’re way out of line and are a front runner for “Spoiled Brat and Bully Award 2012!’!!! Get off your highhorse and think of others for once… maybe a new experience for you, but hey….

          1. Sean K says:

            Listen here, I had coke bottle glasses and acne all throughout HS. I was a nerd before nerds became cool. I was the one being bullied; not the other way around. But if you cower everytime someone makes fun of you or hurt your feelings, how are you going to make it in this world? Like I said, this is a very unfortunate incident but lawmakers, like they do ALL the time, are using this kid to set some sort of example and that’s not right!

            1. Michael H. says:

              There is a HUGE difference between calling somebody names and violating their privacy by posting their sexual encounters on the internet for the world to see. THAT is what this trial is about.

              1. dakotahgeo says:

                Thank YOU, Michael!!! Your comment should have been obvious to a normal human being!!

              2. Sean K says:

                And let’s say this kid gets the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Do you think that would be appropriate for what he did?

            2. max says:

              there is a big difference between calling names and having yuor sexual exploits broadcast for all to see
              he humiliated tyler to a degree no one should have to go thru
              I feel bad for his folks

        2. max says:

          do you really think this kid has guilt remorse or sorrow
          anyone who who do somehting like that is mean spirited
          you will hear him say how sorry he is but he isnt
          i am sur ehe didnt think typer would kill himself and that was the extreme but what did he think would happen
          the guy is slime and we should send him back to india
          that is not racist but realist

    2. tsktsk says:

      He was an adult and his actions directly contributed for someone’s death…so no, we shouldn’t put away every teen for their stupid pranks, but we should put away every adult that engages in activity serious enough that contributes to someone’s death or other severe psychological trauma.

      1. Sean K says:

        The age and maturity of US teens is a whole different discussion onto itself. At his age he’s legally an adult but yet he’s not old enough to buy alcohol? That, to most, doesn’t make a lick of sense. I don’t know if you went away to college but what percentage of college 19 year-old would you say are mature?

        So if your 19 year old son calls a girl fat and she goes on to have “severe pschological trauma” or hangs herself, should charges be brought against him?

      2. Sean K says:

        and obviously the courts don’t agree with you because if they did they would’ve charged him with some form of involuntary manslaughter but instead they charged him with “bias intimidation”, which i’ve never even heard of.

        1. MaxineRocks says:

          You may never have heard of it, but by your own admission, you were a victim of it – you were bullied in school because you were a ‘nerd’. That’s a form of bias discrimination, no matter how else it’s phrased – racism, ageism, sexism, obesity, etc. are all considered bias discrimination.

          1. MaxineRocks says:

            And when I write obesity, I mean deliberately excluding someone or failing to hire someone because of their weight, or deliberately streaming them, oh, say, stripping in their supposedly private room to the internet.

          2. Sean K says:

            And when have you ever seen a person face a possible 10 year sentence for any of the things you have listed? Especially is it didn’t involve any act of physical violece. No one is saying what this kid did was rght, but trump up charges to get to 10 years (which rivals 2nd degree murder) is unfair.

            1. JoaniesJosh says:

              but trump up charges to get to 10 years (which rivals 2nd degree murder) is unfair. I doubt Tyler’s parents would think 10 years is unfair. Everyone is responsible for their actions. What this kid did is unacceptable in this country. If Tyler and his friend were studying, I doubt that Ravi would have posted that. He KNEW what he was doing was wrong, but must have thought he could get away with it. To me, 10 years is not long enough.

              1. Sean K says:

                I have a question for all you people who think what this kid did was so evil that he should be jailed for ten years….if this is such an unlawful act, then why did the DA drop the charges against Molly Wei, who was part of the spying?

  12. Joseph Didonato says:

    I hope Dharun gets a life, he is the ultimate BULLY!!!

  13. Steve says:

    Unless this idiots lawyer is Jose Baez (Casey Anthony…remember her??)
    I expect him to get 2-3 years in Jail. (Jurors will convict him in N.J…they are not as stupid as the jurors in Florida)

  14. Soap on a rope says:

    Lol this idiot will be getting exactly what he deserves in prison a new boyfriend

  15. dakotahgeo says:

    Dharun is a very stupid man. May he enjoy rooming with his new girlfriend, Bubba!! He may be nice-looking in a suit but he’s still a sow’s ear!

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