Today in the Dharun Ravi trial, defense lawyers called a series of character witnesses to assert that Ravi was not anti-gay and didn’t intend any malice against Tyler Clementi because of his sexual orientation.
The AP reports that all seven character witnesses called to the stand—mostly middle-aged business associates of Ravi’s father, a software engineer—testified that they’d never heard Ravi say anything homophobic, they also all admitted upon cross-examination that the topic of homosexuality had never been broached.
“Why would that come up?” said Anil Kappa, a business partner of Ravi’s father, after Prosecutor Julia McClure asked how many times they’d discussed homosexuality.
All seven took the stand within a relatively brief span of just one hour, after which Middlesex County Detective Frank DiNinno was summoned. Defense lawyers tried to insinuate that the prosecution’s witnesses were too close to Detective DiNinno because they call him by his first name Frank, and that jurors should take those witnesses’ testimony less seriously.
During his investigation, DiNinno interviewed Ravi’s Rutgers classmates to see if he had any anti-gay bias. DiNinno testified today that he was just trying to find out what was happening between Clementi and Ravi.