Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi is seeking to overturn his bias intimidation conviction after using a webcam to record and live-stream roommate Tyler Clementi's sexual encounter with another man in September 2010. The 18-year-old Clementi committed suicide only three days later.
The appeal was filed this week, reports the Star-Ledger.
The 33-page brief filed in Superior Court in New Brunswick contends evidence presented at trial showed Ravi was not guilty of invading the privacy or intimidating his roommate, Tyler Clementi. "There has been no evidence of bias nor evidence of intimidation," wrote the lawyers, Steven Altman and Philip Nettl, who represented Ravi at trial. Neither was there evidence Clementi felt intimidated, they wrote. "A person cannot be intimidated under the statute unless they were the recipient of intimidating behavior ... Here there was none."
Clementi did complain about the webcam incident to a resident assistant at Davidson Hall on the Busch campus in Piscataway, according to trial testimiony, and applied for a room change, saying Ravi’s behavior made him uncomfortable.
Witnesses testified that Ravi not only positioned the webcam toward Clementi's bed, but attempted to stream a second encounter and invited students to a "viewing party" Skype and Twitter. Text messages showed that Ravi told friends that he was "creeped out after" watching the encounter and said, "Keep the gays away."
Clementi took his life on September 22, 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Ravi was not charged in Clementi's death.
Of the 35 separate charges on 15 counts, Ravi was convicted of 24 charges on March 16. The convictions include invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering, hindering arrest and hate crime charges. The 20-year-old Dharun Ravi could face 10 years in prison and eventual deportation to his native country of India. Sentencing is May 21.