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Dharun Ravi Guilty Of Invasion Of Privacy In Webcam Spy Trial

Posted: Updated: 05/22/2012 8:59 am

Dharun Ravi
Dharun Ravi was convicted of invasion of privacy and tampering with evidence.

A jury found Dharun Ravi guilty of invasion of privacy for spying on his Rutgers University roommate Tyler Clementi and other charges.

The jury deliberated for 12 hours for more than two days and also convicted him of tampering with physical evidence.

The 15-count indictment included several bias intimidation charges, because prosecutors claimed Ravi bullied Clementi for being gay. The jury of seven women and five men agreed, finding him guilty of hate crimes, The New York Times reports.

In all Ravi was convicted of bias, invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension and witness tampering, according to the Star-Ledger. The newspaper reported he could be deported to India, his country of birth.

The verdict carries a possible sentence of five to 10 years, according to ABC News. Sentencing is set for May 21.

The case became known as the "Rutgers Webcam Spy" trial because Ravi, 20, was accused of using a computer camera to watch his freshman roommate Clementi in a romantic embrace with another man in their Rutgers University dorm room. Clementi committed suicide days later in September 2010. Ravi wasn't charged as a factor in the death, but he became inextricably linked with the end of Clementi's life.

SEE TIMELINE OF EVENTS FROM CASE

"It appears the jury thought long and hard, particularly about bias intimidation and hate crimes," said HuffPost Gay Voices Editor-At-Large Michelangelo Signorile. "It's a just verdict that will send a message about the seriousness of bias-motivated crimes."

Prosecutors alleged that Ravi spied on Clementi by going to a friend's room where he tapped into a webcam to watch his roommate in a romantic moment with another man. Clementi found out that Ravi had seen him in an intimiate encounter and that he had written about it on his Twitter account.

Clementi, then 18, asked dormitory officials to change his room, but committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010.

The case was followed across the country because it centered on the chain of events that led up to Clementi's death.

Ravi was charged with bias intimidation -- essentially a hate crime -- for writing on Twitter about seeing him "kissing a dude" and inviting friends to watch a second tryst between Clementi and a man known only as "M.B."

The witness and evidence tampering charges stem from allegations that Ravi altered his Twitter posts to cover his tracks after Clementi died. They also said he tried to coordinate statements made to police by Molly Wei, a friend who also saw Clementi via the webcam.

The jurors could only find Ravi guilty of the anti-gay bias charge if they first decided he was guilty of invasion of privacy.

But Ravi's defense tried instead to portray him as an immature college student who used poor judgment for a college prank, not as someone who hated gay people. Instead, they said Ravi was suspicious of "M.B." because he was older -- in his mid- to late-20s -- and had a disheveled appearance.

More than 30 witnesses took the stand in the 13-day trial. Wei, who was also indicted but avoided prison time by agreeing to testify against Ravi, said "it felt wrong" to watch Clementi and his date.

A former player on Ravi's ultimate frisbee team testified that he seemed uncomfortable with having a gay roommate. But several other witnesses said they didn't think Ravi had a problem with gay people.

There was a great degree of anticipation over whether Clementi's date, "M.B." would be called to the stand. In the end, he did testify, but his identity was concealed, because he was also considered a victim of the alleged crimes.

"I noticed there was a webcam faced over in the direction of the bed. I just thought it was strange. Being in a compromising position," M.B. said according to the New York Post. "It just caught my eye that there was a camera lens looking right at me."

The defense began its case by calling a series of character witnesses -- mostly business partners of Ravi's father and other family friends -- who said Ravi was not prejudiced. Speculation mounted that Ravi would opt to speak, but on Monday the defense rested its case without his testimony.

The only time jurors heard from Ravi was in a taped interview with police that was played in court. In that interview, Ravi admitted to violating Clementi's privacy, but says he was not expecting to see a romantic moment.

"I didn't realize it was something so private," he said.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

    Dharun Ravi, 20, right, walks out of Middlesex County jail with his attorney Steven Altman, in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • This undated file photograph provided by Joseph and Jane Clementi shows their son Tyler Clementi at a family function. Opening arguments took place on Feb. 24, 2012 in the trial of a former Rutgers University student found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate Clementi's intimate encounter with another man. (Clementi Family / AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

    Dharun Ravi, 20, right, walks out of Middlesex County jail with his attorney Steven Altman, in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The Indian-born former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi, Steve Altman

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 20, walks out of Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The Indian-born former Rutgers University student who was convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man was released from jail Tuesday after serving 20 days of a 30-day sentence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi sits in court during his sentencing in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 22, arrives at the Middlesex County sheriff's department in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate reported to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi

    Dharun Ravi, 22, is photographed by the media as he arrives at the Middlesex County sheriff's department in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate reported to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • A Middlesex County Sheriff's Dept. van, reportedly transporting Dharun Ravi to jail, drives away from the sheriff's office in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate turned himself in shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Ravi Pazhani

    Ravi Pazhani, leaves the Middlesex County sheriff's department past officers and the media in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday, May 31, 2012, after the arrival of his son, Dharun Ravi. The former Rutgers University student convicted of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate was to report to the sheriff on his way to jail. Ravi, 22, arrived at the sheriff's department shortly after 12:30 p.m. to be fingerprinted and photographed before being driven to the county jail to serve a 30-day term. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Philip Nettl, Dharun Ravi, Sabitha Ravi

  • Dharun Ravi, center, listens to a court officer with his attorneys Philip Nettl, left, and Steve Altman, during his sentencing in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Joseph Clementi,Jane Clementi

    Tyler Clementi's parents, Joseph Clementi and Jane Clementi, look on during a sentencing hearing for Dharun Ravi, in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate, Tyler Clementi, kiss another man days before Clementi killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • As fellow defense attorney Steve Altman, third left, listens, attorney Philip Nettl, left, speaks on behalf of Dharun Ravi, second left, as Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Julia McClure, second right, and Assistant Prosecutor Chris Schellhorn, right, listen during a sentencing hearing for Ravi in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, May 21, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student who used a webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man days before the roommate killed himself, was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail. A judge also gave 20-year-old Dharun Ravi three years of probation. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, center, is helped by his father, Ravi Pazhani, second right, as they leave court around in New Brunswick, N.J., Friday, March 16, 2012. Defense attorney Philip Nettl follows, second left. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Several hundred supporters rally in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The 20-year-old was convicted in March and faces up to 10 years in prison. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Jane Clementi hugs a family member following the verdict in the trial of Dharun Ravi, on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, Jerry McCrea, Pool)

  • Renuka Desai, of Edison, N.J., holds a sign and a flag as she joins several hundred supporters at a rally in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The 20-year-old was convicted in March and faces up to 10 years in prison. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Sabitha Ravi, center, talks outside the New Jersey Statehouse about her son, Dharun Ravi, in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012. Supporters rallied on behalf of Dharun, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. Ravi Pazhani, right, and Satish Mehtani, left, watch. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Nachhatar Singh, right, and Gill Harjit wait to join several hundred supporters outside the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2012, on behalf of Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation for using a webcam to see his roommate kissing another man. The case garnered national attention because his roommate, Tyler Clementi, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the spying. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Dharun Ravi, center, is helped by his father, Ravi Pazhani, right, as they leave court around noon in New Brunswick, N.J., Friday, March 16, 2012. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • Dharun Ravi, former Rutgers student found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man, leaves Middlesex County Court on Dec. 9, 2011 in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi rejected a plea deal that would have kept him out of prison and sought to prevent his deportation, accepting the gamble of a trial. Tyler Clementi, 18, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010. Ravi, 19, is not charged in connection with Clementi's death. (Noah K. Murray, AP)

  • Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman talks to the jurors after their verdict in the trial of Dharun Ravi, on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. A jury found that he used a webcam to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi. Within days, Clementi realized he had been watched and jumped to his death from New York's George Washington Bridge in September 2010. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, Jerry McCrea, Pool)

  • Dharun Ravi, former Rutgers University student listened to his attorney Steve Altman as he rejected a new plea offer at Middlesex County Court on Dec. 9, 2011 in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi was found guilty of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, during an intimate encounter with another man. Clementi, 18, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010. (Noah K. Murray, AP)

  • In this May 6, 2011 photo, Molly Wei, the former Rutgers student charged with Dharun Ravi with invading the privacy of Tyler Clementi, looks at the prosecutors during her appearance before Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, N.J. (Frank H. Conlon, AP)

  • Jane Clementi, right, and her husband, Joseph Clementi, left, attend a symposium on use and misuse of social media at Rutgers University on Nov. 14, 2011, in Piscataway, N.J. Their son, Tyler Clementi, was in his first weeks as a student at Rutgers in September 2010 when he killed himself after a roommate used a webcam to spy on Clementi's intimate encounter with another man. The family has started a foundation in their son's honor to address cyberbullying. (Julio Cortez, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Jane Clementi looks at family photographs at her home in Ridgewood, N.J. Jane Clementi, the mother of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man, says that he had a lot on his mind just before he went to college. His mother says that in one conversation a few days before Tyler left for college he told her that he was gay, had doubts about his religious beliefs and was sad that he did not have close friends. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Oct. 1, 2010 photo, Rutgers University students sign condolence cards at Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J., for the family of fellow student Tyler Clementi. Rutgers University has planned a silent vigil to remember Clementi, who committed suicide after his sexual encounter was secretly streamed online. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • U. S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., speaks at a statewide town meeting in memory of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi on Oct. 6, 2010 at the Rutgers University Student Center in New Brunswick, N.J. (Bill Kostroun, AP)

  • New Jersey Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Edison, stands with other lawmakers on Oct. 25, 2010, in Trenton, N.J., as she answers a question about a bill they introduced to toughen the state's anti-bullying laws after the widely publicized suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. The bipartisan group of lawmakers touted the "anti-bullying bill of rights" targeting public schools and colleges. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Joseph Clementi looks at his wife, Jane Clementi, as they sit in Ridgewood, N.J. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • People walk outside Davidson Hall "C" Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010, in Piscataway, N.J. The death of Tyler Clementi, 18, a Rutgers University freshman living in the dorm, has stirred outrage and remorse among classmates who said they wished they could have stopped the teen from jumping off a bridge after secret video of his sexual encounter with a man was streamed online. Clementi's roommate, Dharun Ravi, was found guilty of invading Clementi's privacy. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Dec. 9, 2011 photo, Jane Clementi answers a question as she sits with husband Joseph Clementi as they talk about their son Tyler, in their home in Ridgewood, N.J. The parents of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man, say that he had a lot on his mind just before he went to college. (Mel Evans, AP)

  • In this Oct. 3, 2010 file photo, people participate in a candlelight vigil for Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi at Brower Commons on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, N.J. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River on Sept. 22 after intimate images of him with another man in his dorm room were broadcast online. (Reena Rose Sibayan, AP)

  • In this May 23, 2011 file photo, Joe Clementi, top left, and his wife, Jane, right, sit inside Judge Glenn Berman's courtroom at the Middlesex County Courthouse during a hearing for Dharun Ravi, in the webcam-spying case involving the suicide of their son Tyler Clementi, in New Brunswick, N.J. Joe and Jane Clementi said Friday, March 23, 2012, that a jury got it right last week by convicting their son's roommate, Ravi, of hate crimes and other offenses. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

  • In a March 9, 2012 file photo, Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student who was found guilty of hate crimes for using a webcam to view his roommate at Rutgers University kissing another man, waits before court proceedings in New Brunswick, N.J. In a legal filing Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Ravi's lawyers asked a judge to overturn the jury's conviction. They said the jury convicted Ravi in March despite evidence that he was not guilty of invading the privacy or intimidating roommate Tyler Clementi, who killed himself days after the webcam was used. (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John Munson, Pool, File)

  • Dharun Ravi, Joseph Benedict

    FILE - In this May 30, 2012, file photo, Dharun Ravi, right, sits with his attorney Joseph Benedict during a hearing in New Brunswick, N.J. Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of using his webcam to watch his roommate kiss another man, is due to be released from jail Tuesday, June 19 after serving 20 days of a 30 day sentence. Ravi reported to jail last month even though he could have remained free during an appeal of the case. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

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