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Rutgers "mystery witness": Focus on M.B., testifying in Tyler Clementi-Dharun Ravi webcam case

The man known only as M.B. testifies in the Rutgers webcam spying trial on Friday, March 2, 2012 CBS New York

The man identified only as M.B. testifies in the Rutgers webcam spying trial on Friday, March 2, 2012
CBS New York

(CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The man witnesses say was watched via webcam while kissing Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi started to slowly come into focus Friday when he took the stand in the invasion of privacy trial of Dharun Ravi, Clementi's former roommate.

Pictures: Tyler Clementi
Pictures: Rutgers Spycam Trial

The trim young man identified only as M.B. appeared in court in a button-down shirt, and did not match the description of the overweight "sketchy" or "homeless-looking" man that students had reported seeing visit Clementi, in the days before the Rutgers freshman committed suicide. The witness's hair was closely cropped and he didn't have the goatee that some had described.

Because of the secrecy surrounding the man's identity, there was an unusually large media contingent packed into the Middlesex County Courthouse for what was already a high-profile trial.

But in a little more than 30 minutes of direct-examination, not that much light was shed on who he is.

His lawyer, Richard Pompelio of the New Jersey Crime Victims' Law Center, said he's in his 20's. Pompello said he doesn't believe he's married and did not know whether he was out as a gay man.

"He's a fine young man who came here under horrible circumstances to tell the truth," Pompelio said outside the courtroom during a break in testimony.

He said that M.B. had a fledgling relationship with Clementi and learned about his death from the radio.

In court, M.B. himself said he lived about a 20-minute drive from Clementi's dorm and was starting a new job on Sept. 20, 2010.

The man testified that he had met Tyler Clementi in August 2010 through a social networking site for gay men. They chatted online initially, he said, and their first in-person meeting was in Clementi's dorm room on Sept. 16 - three days before the alleged spying began. Clementi killed himself days later.

Clementi's then-roommate Ravi is charged with bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and other crimes.

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

  • Crimesider Staff

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