The trial of Dharun Ravi has captured national attention. The 20-year-old Plainsboro resident is facing charges of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy after he allegedly set up a webcam to catch images of his Rutgers roommate, Tyler Clementi of Ridgewood, having an encounter with a male guest in September 2010. Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge days after learning about the webcam.
Attorney Henry Klingeman spoke with NJToday Managing Editor Mike Schneider to discuss the case and its precedent-setting nature. Klingeman called the prosecution innovative because it uses statutes that were enacted relatively recently. The case looks at invasion of privacy in a new way since Ravi allegedly used newer technology to spy on his roommate.
Klingeman said he believes the defense is confident, pointing to the plea deal that was offered before trial that included no jail time. “I think any time you get a plea offer before trial that involves no prison, you know you’re in a good position however you decide to defend the case,” he said.
He added that there are other positives for the defense — Ravi’s youth and statements from witnesses so far saying Ravi was not homophobic or prejudiced. Klingeman said there are risks to the trial, however, including the possibility of deportation and the fact that Ravi is just 20 and a conviction would follow him for the rest of his life.