Tyler Clementi’s roommate faces charges of privacy invasion, bias intimidation, witness tampering, and hindering arrest for the spying that preceded the Rutgers freshman’s suicide in 2010. Dharun Ravi, who taped Clementi during a romantic encounter and attempted to publicize his webcam spying again two days later, is not charged in Clementi’s death, but could be convicted of a hate crime. Today, during a four-hour closing statement, his attorney said, “Why we’re here is because on September 19, and September 21, 2010, an 18-year-old boy, a kid, a college freshman, had an experience, had an encounter that he wasn’t ready for.” But the jury will be left to decide if Ravi “was hateful and he was biased, and ugly and anti-gay and he hated his roommate,” his lawyer said, or whether he was “stupid, he’s ignorant, maybe immature and a typical 18-year-old kid.”
Ravi did not testify in the trial, but his defense showed video of his police interview today, in which Ravi said that he quickly shut off the webcam when he saw Clementi and did not use it again. The prosecution called Ravi’s statement to police “filled with lies.”
“You heard about actions and you heard about words,” the prosecutor told the jury. “He told high school friends before he even went off to Rutgers University, he told people in the dorm that he suspected that his roommate was gay. That information and that mindset was what drove his escalating and deliberative acts.” She added, “It wasn’t what he wanted his college experienced to be. He didn’t want to have a gay roommate. He didn’t like that he had a gay roommate.”
The jury will begin deliberating tomorrow.