Before Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi killed himself, he requested a new single dorm room because, he said, his roommate had spied on him with a webcam.
Ravi is on trial for invading Clementi’s privacy and using his sexuality to intimidate him. Ravi, who shared a dorm room with Clementi, is accused of accessing his webcam in their dorm room from another room down the hall while Clementi was engaged in romantic activity with a man.
On Monday, attorneys sparred over the admissibility of statements made on a online form Clementi filled out requesting the new room on the university’s website. The defense objected to Clementi’s statement on the form accusing Dharun Ravi of spying on him, because it was hearsay.
Judge Glenn Berman ultimately barred the statement and ordered the prosecution to redact the statement from the form. However, Berman did rule that Clementi’s other statement requesting a new single room will be admissible in court.
Monday’s testimony began with Ravi’s high school friend and Rutgers student Scott Xu taking the stand. Xu testified that he heard Ravi talking about watching his roommate with another man at Ultimate Frisbee practice.
The defense asked Xu about what he had heard about the man that Clementi was interacting with sexually. The judge has ordered that identity of Clementi’s love interest to be protected. Therefore, this man will only be referred to by the initials M.B.
Xu testified that he had heard M.B. was shady, meaning suspicious. During his opening statement, defense attorney Steven Altman said that various people will describe M.B. as scruffy, shady-looking, slightly over-weight, and having a beard or goatee.
The defense may argue that Ravi’s motive for spying on Clementi was due to his concerns about a “shady-looking” man being in his dorm room. This could counter the prosecution’s argument that Ravi’s intent to spy on Clementi was in order to use his sexuality to intimidate him.
Cameras are allowed in the courtroom for Ravi's trial, and In Session and HLN will be covering this trial live, so stay tuned.