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“If there’s hate in Dharun’s heart, if there’s ugliness in Dharun’s heart, where’s there some information and some evidence to support it?” Mr. Altman asked jurors.

Mr. Ravi tweeted and talked about what he saw, but Mr. Altman said Mr. Ravi was doing so only because he was young, had never before seen men kissing and did not know what to do. He had turned on the webcam in the first place, Mr. Altman said, because he was worried about what was happening in his room after seeing Clementi’s guest, whom Mr. Ravi described as “older” and “sketchy.”

His client, Mr. Altman said, was concerned about whether the stranger might take the iPad that Mr. Ravi had left in the room.

Julia McClure, a prosecutor for Middlesex County, reminded jurors of testimony from some of Mr. Ravi’s high school friends that even before Mr. Ravi moved into the dorm, he was concerned about having a gay roommate.

“He was so shocked that within about four minutes, he sent out a tweet, because he was seeking advice?” Ms. McClure asked. And, she said, there was evidence that he then told other students about what he had seen and invited them to a friend’s room where they could see for themselves.

The challenge for jurors could be deciding whether the laws apply to what Mr. Ravi is alleged to have done.

He faces 15 charges. Four are invasion of privacy and attempted invasion of privacy charges, in which the required proof is that he saw or disseminated images — or attempted to — of private parts or sex acts, or a situation in which someone might reasonably expect to see them.

Four charges allege bias intimidation. Mr. Ravi can be convicted of intimidation if he’s also found guilty of an underlying invasion-of-privacy charge. Two of those charges are second-degree crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison — the most significant penalties he faces if convicted.

Seven charges accuse him of trying to cover his tracks. Among the allegations: that he deleted and changed Twitter postings and text messages and told another witness what to say.

Clementi’s death was one in a string of suicides by young gays around the country in September 2010 and became probably the best known. President Obama commented on it in an online video, as did talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres.

New Jersey lawmakers hastened passage of an anti-bullying law because of the case, and Rutgers changed housing policies to allow opposite-sex roommates in an effort to make a more comfortable environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.