NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A former U.S. university student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man turned down a plea deal Thursday that could have kept him out of prison.
The teenage subject of the alleged spying, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, setting up a national conversation about the bullying of young gays and lesbians.
Dharun Ravi, 19, on Thursday affirmed his decision to go to trial. A conviction could mean 10 years or more in prison. A judge set a trial date of Feb. 21. Mr. Ravi faces 15 criminal counts in all, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, a hate crime.
He remained silent during the hearing, other than to say “yes” when New Jersey Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman asked him whether he understood the risks he faces by appearing in court.
Judge Berman ruled that Mr. Ravi’s lawyer should not have access to his personal writings, including documents found on his computer.
Judge Berman reiterated his earlier ruling that Mr. Ravi, his lawyer and his lawyer’s investigator should be given the name and birth date of the man who had the intimate encounter with Clementi, with the caveat that they not give that information to anyone else.
Prosecutors objected to the disclosure requirement last month and asked Judge Berman to reconsider.
On Thursday, the man, identified in court papers only as M.B., was represented in court by Richard Pompelio, a victims rights lawyer who argued that the man’s right to privacy outweighs Mr. Ravi’s need to have information to defend himself.
Mr. Pompelio argued that media exposure would harm M.B.
“Once they find out who he is, they find out his face,” he said. “As the defendant knows, he has family and a web of relationships that are impacted by anything that happens to him. If his name gets out, it’s out, and it’s out forever.”
After court, Mr. Pompelio said he would not disclose any information about his client, including his age or occupation.
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