Dharun Ravi Trial Begins, With Questions Of His Intent Toward Tyler Clementi At Fore

The jury selection in the trial of Dharun Ravi has finished, and lawyers this morning presented opening arguments in a New Brunswick, New Jersey courtroom.

The defense is painting Ravi’s spying on Tyler Clementi as an act of immature child’s play, while the prosecution seeks to show that Ravi intended criminal malice.

Clementi jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, three days after Ravi had tweeted that he was going to spy on Clementi’s hookup with a man with a clandestine webcam, asking friends if they wanted to join in the viewing party.

“It was not an accident, not a mistake,” prosecutor Julia McClure told the jury in her opening statement, according to the New York Times. “Those acts were meant to cross one of the most sacred boundaries of human privacy, engaging in private sexual human activity.”

She continued, saying that Ravi’s acts “were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s sexual orientation, and they were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s private sexual activity.”

Ravi’s lawyer, Steven D. Altman, claimed that Ravi was not anti-gay and was just making a childish blunder.

“We do stupid things, we make mistakes, especially when we’re young,” said Altman. “It doesn’t mean we’re hateful, we’re bigoted or we’re criminal,” he said. “In fact, Dharun never intimidated anyone. He never committed a crime, he never committed a hateful crime. He’s not homophobic. He’s not anti-gay.”

Crucial testimony will come later from the man Tyler Clementi was hooking up with, identified only as M.B. in court papers. Also to come is the testimony of the defense’s key wtiness Molly Wei, who made a deal and agreed to testify truthfully as long as the spying charges against her were dropped.