Ravi's lawyer requests judge dismiss nine charges, all 15 remain
All 15 charges against former University student Dharun Ravi remained Thursday as court came to a close.
Ravi allegedly spied on his roommate Tyler Clementi’s intimate encounter with another man in September 2010. The charges include bias intimidation and carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman made his decision to keep the charges and requested that the defense prepare for Friday as if all charges stand.
After the prosecution rested its case and the jury was dismissed, Ravi’s lawyers Philip Nettl and Steven Altman asked Berman to dismiss nine of the 15 criminal counts against Ravi.
Ravi faces charges including two invasion of privacy charges, two attempted invasion of privacy charges, seven charges of hindering apprehension and witness tampering and four bias intimidation charges for intimidating Clementi and his guest, M.B.
Ravi’s lawyers attempted to dismiss the intimidation charges, both charges of invasion of privacy, and one of the hindering apprehension charges.
Nettl said the charges brought against Ravi for the invasion of privacy and intimidation should be dismissed because Ravi did not purposely view M.B. or attempt to intimidate him. Rather he set the camera to view his possessions in the room.
M.B. was never mentioned in a Twitter post or in any messages Ravi sent, Nettl said. The only mention of him was Ravi’s reference to a “dude” in a tweet.
Berman said Ravi still saw M.B. regardless of whether he intended to, so the charge of invasion of privacy still stands.
“If John Smith attempts to shoot his wife and hits his son, it’s still a crime,” Berman said.
On the charges of bias intimidation, Berman said several student witnesses testified that Ravi was uncomfortable with having a gay roommate, which can have two meanings — a lack of comfort or a bias toward an individual.
“How can you have the purpose to intimidate somebody if what you’re doing is intended to be kept from the person who is the supposed target?” Nettl said. “Dharun did not know and did not expect that either Tyler Clementi or M.B. were aware of what the tweets were.”
Computer evidence presented Tuesday suggested Clementi viewed Ravi’s Twitter page about 59 times between Sept. 13 and Sept. 20, 2010. He took screenshots of tweets that mentioned the webcam viewing.
Clementi spoke to a Davidson Hall C residence assistant on Sept. 21, 2010 to ask for a room change because he believed Ravi was spying on him.
Nettl said Ravi had the right to set up the camera to check on his belongings.
Berman said he would understand that concern if the webcam was pointed at the door rather than Clementi’s bed.
Berman said that although Ravi was at Ultimate Frisbee practice on Sept. 21, 2010 — the night of the second viewing incident — he encouraged others to view the webcam via Twitter.
“[Ravi created] the scene,” Berman said. “[He set] up the props for other people to observe.”
The second invasion of privacy charge remains.
Nettl later submitted on six charges, including charges of hindering apprehension and witness tampering. He said he would let the jury to decide Ravi’s intentions.
Defense lawyers will call a character witness and investigators to the stand Friday.