Clementi’s guest testifies at Ravi trial
When M.B., the man who had intimate encounters with Tyler Clementi prior to his suicide, entered the Middlesex County Courthouse on Friday, he did not look like the “scruffy, homeless man” described in witness testimonies.
M.B., 32, was dressed in a long-sleeved, button-down shirt with blue and white stripes, and black dress pants. He is of average build and clean-shaven with short, black hair. Richard Pompelio, M.B.’s attorney, said his client is a “fine young man who came here to tell the truth under very difficult circumstances.”
Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman said M.B. could not be recorded or photographed while he testified in court because he is considered a second victim of the incident.
M.B. said he met Clementi, 18, in August 2010 through the social networking site adam4adam.com. M.B. said the two spoke for a few weeks, mostly through email, AOL Instant Messenger and text message.
“I was comfortable and he was comfortable,” M.B. said.
M.B. met with Clementi on Sept. 16, 2010 around 10 p.m. in his Davidson Hall C room on Busch campus and left before 2 a.m.
M.B. said the two talked, and Clementi wanted M.B. to come over again.
“He had wanted me to come over from all those nights on [Sept. 17 and 18]. He wanted to talk to his roommate [about having the room to himself],” M.B. said.
But because of a miscommunication between Clementi and his roommate, Dharun Ravi, M.B. did not visit again until Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010.
M.B. said that night he met Ravi. He and Ravi exchanged brief greetings, but M.B. could not remember the exact words used.
Ravi left the room, but moments later, requested to re-enter the room and shuffled around his desk near his computer before leaving again, M.B. said.
As he and Clementi were having sex, M.B. said he noticed the webcam, but there was no indication that the webcam was on.
“I just happen to glance over, and it just caught my eye that there was a camera facing directly at me,” M.B. said.
M.B. said he did not mention the webcam to Clementi.
“There was no thoughts that somebody might be watching me,” he said.
Ravi is charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest, with up to 10 years in prison.
During the encounter, M.B. recalled that the windows and blinds were closed, but he could not remember if the lights were on or off.
“We came there for privacy and intimacy,” he said. “I really don’t think we left [the blinds] open.”
When leaving Clementi’s room, M.B. said he encountered five people standing outside the hallway.
“If I wasn’t a guest in their building, I would have engaged them as to why they were looking at me, but I brushed it off,” he said.
M.B. said although the people were staring at him, he did not feel out of place at the residence hall. M.B. said in an Oct. 4, 2010 police statement that he was unshaven and may have appeared older.
Following the encounter, he and Clementi exchanged text messages but did not meet again until Sept. 21, 2010, M.B. said.
“I was happy, he was happy,” he said. “We wanted to see each other again.”
M.B. received a text from Clementi around 9:28 p.m. on Sept. 21, saying “Hey come over.” M.B. received another message at 9:32 p.m. from Clementi asking if he still wanted to hang out.
M.B. said he did not see the previous texts and sent Clementi a message at 9:48 p.m. asking, “What’s up sexy?”
Text message exchanges between Clementi and other witnesses were initially regarded as hearsay because Clementi could not validate the messages. Berman said he would look into admitting Clementi’s other communications as evidence.
M.B. said he met Clementi at Davidson Hall C again, and the two had a sexual encounter in Clementi’s room.
M.B. said he noticed the webcam was not on top of the computer anymore and that the blinds were not completely closed.
Following their encounter, M.B. said Clementi got up to close the blinds “the best he could” and returned to bed where he and M.B. laid for 10 to 15 minutes.
M.B. said he left the room alone as he did previous nights.
Altman asked M.B. if there was anyone in the hallway when he left that night. When M.B. said there was no one, but he still felt uncomfortable, Altman said, “I don’t care.”
M.B. said he had intention of seeing Clementi again, but did not want to meet him at Davidson Hall C anymore.
M.B. said he continued to text Clementi after Sept. 21 and did not find out Clementi committed suicide until he picked up a newspaper and learned Clementi’s last name.
Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010.
M.B. was questioned at his local police station on Oct. 1, 2010.
The trial is expected to resume Monday at 9 a.m. with testimony from University Information Technology representatives. The trial, which started Feb. 24, is expected to last two to three more weeks.