NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The first defense witnesses were presented on Friday in the trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate.
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The defense isn’t revealing whether Dharun Ravi’s will testify in his own trial, but his attorneys put seven character witnesses on the stand.
Sandeep Sharma, the first defense witness of the day, is president of R-Squared, the information technology company where Ravi’s father is chairman. When asked whether he has ever seen Ravi say anything derogatory to homosexuals, or heard him describe homosexuals in a derogatory fashion, Sharma simply replied, “No.”
Prosecutors are trying to prove Ravi targeted his roommate Tyler Clementi because he was gay, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Ragi Rathinasabapath and Girish Warrier, friends of the Ravi family, and Anil Kappa, a partner in Ravi’s father’s company, also took the stand and defended Ravi, testifying that they’ve never heard Ravi speak ill of particular homosexuals or homosexuality in general.
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Investigator Frank Denino says no one has told him Ravi hated gays.
“I didn’t speak to a witness in this group that indicated that,” he said.
Ravi is charged with 15 criminal counts, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and seven charges that he tried to cover up his actions.
Defense lawyers have not said whether Ravi himself will testify.
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