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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

Indians Abroad

Friend testifies against Indian-American student in webcam spying case
IANS
New York, February 28, 2012
First Published: 10:17 IST(28/2/2012)
Last Updated: 10:19 IST(28/2/2012)

A friend of Indian-American student Dharun Ravi, charged with spying on his gay roommate, has testified she received text messages from Ravi while she was questioned by police about the alleged act.

"I think that he thought we were going to get in trouble, so he wanted to make it seem like it was more of an accident," Rutgers New Jersey State University student Molly Wei testified in a New Jersey court on Monday.

Wei took the witness stand to testify against Ravi, 19, who is accused of activating a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, just days before Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Both Wei and Ravi viewed the images on Wei's computer. Wei, who was originally charged with two counts of invasion of privacy, entered a pre-trial intervention programme that required her to perform 300 hours of community service in exchange for the charges being dropped.

Wei said they watched for "about two seconds" before turning the image off.

Ravi texted her multiple times when she was being interviewed by police about the alleged spying, asking her what exactly she was confessing to investigators, she said.

"Did you tell them we did it on purpose? What did you tell them when they asked why we turned it on? I said we were just messing around with the camera," Ravi said in messages.

Ravi is charged with witness tampering for the messages he sent to Wei, in addition to invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and hindering arrest.

Wei responded to Ravi's messages, saying that she had told investigators "everything" that had happened on September 19, 2010, when Ravi came to her dorm room after Clementi asked to have the room to himself for the night.

On cross-examination, Wei said Ravi wanted to peek into the room because Clementi's date was an older man and did not appear to be a Rutgers student. She told the court that Ravi feared that the man would steal his iPad.


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