Lawyer wants charges dropped against Indian-American student

August 12th, 2011 - 11:14 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 12 (IANS) Lawyers for an Indian-American student accused of spying on his roommate’s same-sex liaison with a webcam have asked a court to drop charges against him, saying there’s no evidence he ever watched the footage.

The case against Dharun Ravi, 19, a former student of Rutgers, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, garnered worldwide attention after the roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide a few days after the alleged spying took place.

In a motion filed Thursday with the New Jersey Superior Court, Ravi’s lawyer, Steve Altman, asked that the charges, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and evidence tampering, against him be dropped, MSNBC reported.

He also asked that the prosecution produce evidence used in the indictment of Ravi, including police reports relating to Clementi’s suicide, as well as information from Clementi’s computer.

A brief filed with the motion states that prosecutors never produced evidence to the grand jury that Ravi ever viewed the footage from the webcam or if he did view the footage, that he saw any sexual images.

Ravi was indicted on the 15 charges in April.

Authorities say the case began in early August 2010, when Ravi learned that he’d be rooming with Clementi in his first year at Rutgers.

Soon after that, he posted a message on his Twitter account: “Found out my roommate is gay,” and linked to a thread that Clementi is believed to have posted on a gay community chat room.

Then on Sep 19, 2010, according to Twitter archives stored by Google, he tweeted again: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

Authorities say that was the night Ravi used the webcam to spy on his roommate - and that he tried to do it again two nights later.

Clementi, an aspiring violinist, killed himself Sep 22 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after learning of the online video stream of his homosexual encounter, authorities said.

The judge has set Sept. 9 for the next court date in the case.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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