Webcam spying: Lawyers want 9 charges dropped

Last Updated: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 10:19

New York: Defence lawyers have asked a New Jersey court to dismiss nine out of 15 criminal counts against Dharun Ravi, a former Indian American student charged with invading the privacy of his gay roommate.

New Brunswick New Jersey Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman outright declined to throw out five counts on Thursday. He said he would likely keep the remaining four counts as well and that he would rule on those counts on Friday.

Ravi was indicted on 15 charges, including two invasion of privacy charges, two attempted invasion of privacy charges, four bias intimidation charges, and seven charges of hindering apprehension and witness tampering.

Ravi`s lawyers made a motion to dismiss all of the invasion of privacy and bias intimidation charges, and one of the hindering apprehension charges as the prosecution rested Thursday after more than 20 witnesses and 10 days of testimony.

Berman said all four of the invasion of privacy counts are coupled with bias intimidation counts, meaning Ravi invaded his roommate, Tyler Clementi`s, privacy specifically to intimidate him because of his sexual orientation.

On the bias charges, Berman said several witnesses have said Ravi was "uncomfortable" having a gay roommate.

Berman said the word "can mean you are biased."

"I don`t recall anyone ever saying that the defendant made a derogatory remark about homosexuals," Berman said. "But most remarks were that he wasn`t comfortable."

Ravi`s lawyer, Phil Nettl, argued that bias intimidation means someone purposely acted to intimidate another person. But Ravi never intended to tell Clementi that he had seen him kissing a male guest via webcam, he said.

The state alleges that Ravi intentionally targeted Clementi to expose and harass his roommate based on his sexual orientation.

Ravi`s lawyers say Ravi only turned on his webcam because he was worried about his computer equipment and didn`t trust Clementi`s guest, who was older and appeared scruffy.


First Published: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 10:19

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