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Prosecution close to wrapping up Rutgers spycam case

A tech expert is expected to testify Tuesday in the Rutgers spycam case. Dharun Rav is a former Rutgers University student accused of spying on his roommate with a webcam.

By Geoff MulvihillAssociated Press / March 6, 2012

Michelle Huang is sworn in before testifying during the trial of Dharun Ravi. a former Rutgers University student, in New Brunswick, N.J., Monday, March 5, 2012.

(AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John O'Boyle, Pool)


New Brunswick, N.J.

A Rutgers University computer systems manager is expected to be next to testify in the trial of a former student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man.

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Dharun Ravi faces 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. His roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge in September 2010, just days after the alleged spying.

The prosecution's case appears to be close to wrapping up. Prosecutors have called 17 witnesses in seven days of testimony in their case against Ravi. They said they expected to call about two dozen.

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On Monday, a high school friend of Ravi testified that someone at Rutgers was planning a "viewing party" with beer and rum to watch the dorm room liaison.

The revelation came in testimony from Michelle Huang, a Cornell University student who says Dharun Ravi told her about it in a text message on Sept. 21, 2010.

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Ravi intentionally tried to humiliate Clementi. Huang testified that Ravi urged her to video chat him so she could see the webcam footage.

"Do it for real," Ravi wrote in a text that was shown to jurors. "I have it pointed at his bed."

People were planning a "viewing party with a bottle of Bacardi and beer" to watch the webstream that night, Huang said. It was the first mention of a planned party in the trial, which had its seventh day of testimony on Monday.

Huang later testified that after Clementi had killed himself, Ravi texted her that the talk of a viewing party was a joke.

Witnesses have said the webcam wasn't working that night.

But a Douglas Rager, a former university police detective, testified later Monday that when he went to inspect the dorm room on Sept. 23, he noticed that Ravi's webcam was "angled directly at Tyler's bed."

Ravi isn't charged in Clementi's death, and the judge has been cautious about how the suicide would come into the trial.

Prosecutors are precluded from linking the spying allegations to the suicide. Defense lawyers cannot make the case that Clementi killed himself for other reasons.

When prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom last month for the first time, the judge told them that it was the case involving Clementi and that Clementi had killed himself.

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