Live

Watch CBSN Live

Dharun Ravi, suspect in Tyler Clementi suicide case, set to appear in court

Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi Pool,AP Photo/Mark R. Sullivan, File

(CBS/AP) NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - The former Rutgers' student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate who later committed suicide is due in court for a pretrial hearing Friday. The trial of Dharun Ravi is expected to start by early March. 

Pictures: Tyler Clementi: Rutgers Suicide

The Deadly Cost of Bullying

An issue in this case is what questions prospective jurors will be asked when they are brought in beginning Feb. 21.

Ravi allegedly used a web cam to stream footage of his roommate's sexual encounter with another man. The case has been widely in the media largely because Ravi's roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after the alleged crime.

CNN reports Ravi faces a 15-count indictment, which includes hate crime charges, in connection with the death of Clementi. If convicted, it is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Ravi says he is innocent and last month turned down a plea deal in which prosecutors would have recommended he serve no jail time.

"You want to know why he's rejected the plea?" his attorney, Steven Altman, said in December. "Simple principle of law, simple principle of life -- he's innocent. He's not guilty."Ravi is a citizen of India who was studying in the U.S. legally.

Meanwhile, a second student charged in connection to the incident, 19-year-old Molly Wei, reached a plea deal that requires her testify against Ravi. In May, Wei pleaded not guilty to two counts of invasion of privacy, according to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Complete coverage of Tyler Clementi on Crimesider