Key witness to be back on stand in webcam spy case
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - February 28, 2012 (WPVI) -- A key prosecution witness is expected to be back on the witness stand in the trial of a former Rutgers student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate kissing another man.
Dharun Ravi faces 15 criminal charges including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. His roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days after the alleged spying in September 2010.
The witness, Molly Wei, will resume her testimony on Tuesday. She was initially charged in the case but agreed to enter a pretrial intervention program that can keep her record clean if she complies with a list of conditions.
On Monday, she said that she and Ravi watched the streaming images from his computer after Clementi asked to have the dorm room to himself so he could have company.
"First of all, it was shocking. It felt wrong. We didn't expect to see that. And now that what we did, it was like we shouldn't have seen it," Wei said in testimony Monday. "We didn't want people to know what had happened."
But, Wei testified, within minutes, she and defendant Dharun Ravi were online chatting with friends about seeing two men kissing. And within the hour, Wei said, she agreed to show a few seconds of the video stream to four other women who visited her dorm room. Still she said, Ravi didn't seem to intend to humiliate or intimidate Clementi.
That could be a key issue because to convict Ravi of bias intimidation, a hate crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors will have to convince the jury that Ravi acted out of bias toward gays.
Both times she saw the stream, Wei said, Clementi and another man were standing in front of Clementi's desk kissing. And both times, she said, she saw only seconds.
"It was the exact same image except that they had taken their tops off," she said of the second viewing, which she said was at the request of one of several other students who visited her room. "As soon as they saw it, I turned it off."
On cross-examination from Ravi's lawyer, she said that there was no plan to humiliate or intimidate Clementi.
Also expected to testify on Tuesday is the student resident assistant whom Clementi told about the alleged spying.
new jersey, rutgers university, homosexuality, spying, local/state
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