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Dharun Ravi is a kid, not a criminal says defense lawyer in closing arguments

Dharun Ravi at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, Monday, March 12, 2012. Pool, John O'Boyle,AP Photo/The Star-Ledger

(CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man, is a kid, not a criminal, his lawyer said Tuesday in closing arguments.

Pictures: Tyler Clementi
Pictures: Rutgers Spycam Trial

Defense attorney Steven Altman told jurors that Dharun Ravi was surprised to turn on his webcam and see his roommate, Tyler Clementi, in an intimate situation with another man. He emphasized that there was no recording, no broadcast and no YouTube video of the encounter.

Altman said that Ravi was not acting out of hatred of his roommate or gays in general.

"If there's hate in Dharun's heart, if there's ugliness in Dharun's heart," Altman asked jurors, "Where's there some information and some evidence to support it?"

Ravi faces 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in September 2010 just days after the alleged spying.

Prosecutors are expected to make their closing arguments later Tuesday or on Wednesday.

Jurors, who are expected to start deliberating by Wednesday, 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 a statement he gave to police.

Tuesday's closing arguments had an abrupt break that lasted three hours after Altman fell ill. But he returned to continue his summation in the afternoon.

Altman spent parts of the morning poking holes in the credibility and memory of two of the state's key witnesses, both Rutgers students who said Ravi came to their room and showed them how to access video from his webcam.

Judge Glenn Berman said Monday that some of the charges are difficult because they have not been frequently tested by higher courts.

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

Jurors Tuesday also took another look at a statement Ravi gave a detective on Sept. 23, 2010, which was previously shown by prosecutors.

But Ravi's lawyer replayed it Tuesday during his summations, asking jurors to watch closely to see whether it seemed like Ravi was lying about what happened.

In it, Ravi says he did see Clementi in a videostream but said he felt bad about it.

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

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