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Dharun Ravi update: Summations begin in Rutgers spycam trial

Dharun Ravi, center, walks into the Middlesex County Courthouse for a hearing in the webcam-spying case involving the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, Monday, May 23, 2011, in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi is one of two former Rutgers students accused of spying on Clementi's intimate encounter with another man days before the classmate committed suicide. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Dharun Ravi, center, walks into the Middlesex County Courthouse with his attorneys
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
(CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A jury in the trial of former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi, who is accused of using a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi's intimate encounter with another man, will have to wrestle with some relatively untested legal issues when it gets the case.

Pictures: Tyler Clementi
Pictures: Rutgers Spycam Trial

That could come on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the length of closing arguments, which begin this morning.

The jury heard about 30 witnesses over 12 days of testimony in the trial. They did not hear testimony from Ravi himself, though they did see video of his being questioned by police.

Ravi faces 15 criminal charges, including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy and seven charges that he covered his tracks.

Clementi, Ravi's roommate and fellow first-year student at Rutgers, committed suicide on Sept. 22, 2010 - three days after authorities say Ravi spied on him and one day after he's accused of trying to do it again.

Now jurors could be deciding whether the laws apply to what Ravi is alleged to have done.

One of the invasion-of-privacy charges accuses Ravi of viewing exposed private parts or sex acts - or a situation where someone might reasonably expect to see them.

Another accuses him of recording or disseminating the images to others. There's no evidence that the webstream was recorded, and witnesses said Ravi wasn't there when Molly Wei, another Rutgers student and friend of Ravi's, opened the webstream for other students.

The bias intimidation charges could also be complicated. Ravi can be convicted of intimidation if he's also found guilty of an underlying invasion-of-privacy charge. Two of those four charges are second-degree crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In order to be convicted of the bias charged, the jury must decide that Ravi committed invasion of privacy - or attempted to - out of malice toward gays - or that Clementi believed he was targeted because of his sexuality.

Prosecutors will point to Ravi's Twitter postings about his roommate and testimony that Ravi expressed some worries about having a gay roommate. They may also point out that Clementi viewed Ravi's Twitter page 38 times in the last two days of his life as evidence that Clementi believed, at least, that Ravi was anti-gay.

But defense lawyers will try to rebut that by referring to testimony from several of Ravi's friends who testified that he never said anything bad about gays generally - and that he mostly had good things to say about Clementi.

Complete coverage of Tyler Clementi and the Dharun Ravi trial on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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