Nineteen-year-old Dharun Ravi faces 15 charges for allegedly broadcasting his gay roommate Tyler Clementi’s sexual encounter via webcam—the broadcast may have driven Clementi to commit suicide shortly afterwards. But Ravi’s defense team has come up with a not-so-clever defense: they say the entire case should be dropped because Ravi only set up his webcam to make sure that Clementi’s man-guest didn’t steal anything. Mmhmm… pull the other one Ravi.
From The New York Times:
But defense lawyer Steven Altman said in a brief filed Wednesday that his client was not spying on Clementi. Altman said Ravi initially turned on his webcam from a friend’s computer to see what was going on in the dorm room because he was concerned about whether the man Clementi had over might steal Ravi’s iPad. He stopped watching “two seconds” after seeing the men kissing, Altman said.
Spying on your roommate… that’s not weird.
Keep in mind that an iPad weighs all of 1.35 pounds and can be carried easily. So Ravi bothered taking time to set up a webcam instead of just taking the damned iPad with him? Kinda far-fetched. And did Ravi always set up the webcam whenever he went out of the room just to make sure his roommate’s gay pals didn’t steal his other crap? Doubtful.
But there’s more:
Altman provided text messages that he said Ravi sent Clementi on Sept. 22 — about the time the 18-year-old violinist from Ridgewood was on the suspension bridge crossing the Hudson River.
“I turned on my camera and saw you in the corner of the screen and I immediately closed it. I felt uncomfortable and guilty of what happened,” the message said. “Obviously I told people what occurred so they could give me advice. Then Tuesday when you requested the room again I wanted to make sure what happened Sunday wouldn’t happen again … I turned my camera away and put my computer to sleep so even if anyone tried it wouldn’t work. I wanted to make amends for Sunday night. I’m sorry if you heard something distorted and disturbing but I assure you all my actions were good natured.”
Another said, in part: “I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it.”
Hmmm. Ravi’s defense team is also claiming that the prosecution have not substantiated that Ravi has any anti-gay animus, that he viewed, copied, or distributed any sexual images via webcam, or that he deleted incriminating tweets to hide evidence from investigators.
We don’t have any way to know if any of the defense’s claims against the prosecution hold any water, nor if these alleged text messages from Ravi to Clementi actually exist. But Ravi’s new excuse sounds an awful lot like a hail Mary defense strategy. They needed another story to explain why Ravi would spy on his gay roommate and this one is the best they could come up with.