After 13 days of testimony, the case of ex-Rutgers student Dharun Ravi - accused of 15 counts including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation for using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate Tyler Clementi - is now in the hands of the jury. On Tuesday, prosecutors accused Ravi of homophobic bullying by exposing Clementi's sexual orientation while the defense argued that the 20 year old Ravi was a naive prankster.
"An 18-year-old boy, a kid, a college freshman had an experience ... that he wasn't anticipating and he didn't know how to deal with because he was a kid," Ravi's attorney Steven Altman argued, the New York Daily News reported. The attorney said Ravi was not anti-gay but rather only curious when he remotely caught Clementi on the webcam kissing his 30 year old male date in their dorm room in September 2010.
If Clementi felt intimidated, why did he invite the older man back to their room after having read Ravi's Tweets revealing the spycam? "If there's ugliness in Dharun's heart, whether it be towards gays or Tyler .... Is there a text? Is there an instant message? Is there an email?" Altman asked. "Nothing. Nothing. Nothing."
Prosecutor Julia McClure displayed some of Ravi's tweets, IMs and texts messages. "There wasn't one thing about the defendant's actions that could be characterized as a petty misunderstanding," she countered. "The defendant's actions were mean-spirited, they were malicious, they were criminal."
The jury heard how Clementi checked Ravi's Twitter feed 38 times and saw posts mocking him in the 48 hours before his suicide.
"Tyler was quiet, he was shy, ... and he finds out that his private sexual activity has been exposed ... you don't think that he was intimidated by learning that info?" the Star Ledger reported McClure as saying. "(Ravi) didn't want to have a gay roommate. He didn't like that he had a gay roommate and he was gonna use it to his advantage to expose to other people Tyler's sexual orientation."
Clementi, 18, committed suicide three days after the incident by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
The jury is expected to start their deliberations today.