March 13th, 2012
11:34 AM ET

Closing arguments begin in Rutgers roommate-spying trial

Closing arguments began Tuesday in the trial of a former Rutgers student accused of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate, who later killed himself by jumping off New York's George Washington Bridge.

On Monday, the defense rested without the defendant, Dharun Ravi, testifying on his own behalf.

The jury will consider 15 counts against Ravi, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, tampering with physical evidence, witness tampering and hindering apprehension or prosecution.

The case caught national attention in 2010 after the suicide of Ravi's roommate, Tyler Clementi. His death stirred discussion about bullying, with President Barack Obama releasing a videotaped message less than a month later condemning such treatment.

Ravi and fellow student Molly Wei - who admitted joining Ravi to watch a surreptitious webcam encounter involving Clementi and another man in September 2010 - were charged in the wake of Clementi's death.

Facing two counts of invasion of privacy, Wei reached a plea deal in May 2011 that required her to testify against her friend and former high school classmate, as well as to complete a three-year program on cyberbullying and do 300 hours of community service.

But Ravi, now 20, turned down a plea deal offered by Middlesex County prosecutors that would have let him avoid jail time in exchange for undergoing counseling, doing 600 hours of community service and disposing of any information that could identify the man who appeared in the web video with Clementi.

He faces 10 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    Laws made up out of thin air. Trials for trial's sake. This case should never been brought for adjudication in a criminal court. Civil maybe! If I have caused embarrassment to someone, I have no way of knowing what they will do. And as far as college pranks go, I know of worse that didn't end in this type of tragedy. I truly feel sorry for the young man who took his life, but I think the reason for his action goes much deeper than the facts brought out at this trial!

    March 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • poppa john

      I agree

      March 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Niki

    @ Portland tony
    sounds to me like you have an opinion as to the depth or reason this young man took his life; would you care to elaborate?

    March 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      I wish I or someone did before this young man took his life. As I said, we can't predict what an embarrassed individual will do. But. one does not expect suicide.

      March 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. zombie Moammar Gadhafi

    A sad case indeed.

    March 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Niki

    @ Portland, We all have our *breaking point* Sad that this young man and others can not seem to get the help for their issues and support from people around them.

    March 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony


      March 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    My long post was rejected about an hour ago, probably because of forbidden words or parts of words.
    I don't think anyone makes another person kill himself, no matter how cruel the mistreatment is.
    Part of the personal responsibility that I often advocate here is not caring what others think of you. If I know I've done something that is good, that's what matters. I make the decision.
    That individual kind of thinking is less often encountered today than it was when I was the age of this young man who committed suicide.
    Especially in the case of any young gay man, even in this era he must expect to encounter some hatred because of his orientation. He can abandon his friends, family, and church if they don't accept him: there are accepting, beautiful, and brilliant people, both gay and straight, elsewhere.

    March 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @Joey, beautifully worded and incisive. If people can only embrace the concept of not caring about what others think, there would be much less inner pain and self acceptance.

      March 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

      @ dazzle©:
      Thank you very much.

      March 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. raven

    His orientation shouldn't even be brought up. They were SPYING on him. Uncool.

    March 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. raven

    This kid probably died a thousand deaths before he actually physically offed himself. And, I agree,JIF, being gay isn't the end of the world. Plenty of successful, productive gays have been targets of hatred. Still, they had no right to secretly watch him.

    March 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Niki

    @ raven, That's the reason why they were spying on him in the first place; his orientation.

    March 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • raven

      @niki: I know. And thats my point. What business was it of theirs?? And JIF, my friend, how are you? Think of you every time I listen to my Grieg cd. And it makes me happy.

      March 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    @ raven: hello. I don't run into you often here.
    We both stay busy, I guess.

    March 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Sometimes suicide follows a person's being shamed about nothing.
    A woman in my hometown killed herself because her daughter found the parents' wedding dates counted from her birthday, and discovered that she had been conceived–not born–out of wedlock.
    That's a true story.
    "Excuse me, please...I'm so embarrassed that I think I'll just go to the powder room and blow my brains out."

    March 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    Thousands of college kids should go to court. This stuff all the time in college and local college bars serving underage students. No one killed this kid. Why a trial? BS, I should sue people from my college so I can pay the loan off like the patents in thus trial.

    March 14, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Scottish Mama

    @Bill, I guess voy-eur- ism is okay with you?

    March 14, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. ♔Mmmmm♕

    gay 6xx and suicide, peeping toms and middle6xx county location with middle6xx prosecutors...when will the puns end?

    March 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |