Burden of Proof: Prosecutor Presents First Bias Crime Evidence


Invasion of Privacy

The prosecution attempted to build its invasion of privacy charges on the testimony of Lokesh Ojha, a former freshman in Davidson C dormitory at Rutgers and friend of Ravi.

Ojha's testimony primarily addressed whether Ravi deliberately orchestrated a second viewing of Clementi in a sexual encounter on Sept. 21, 2010.

Ojha stated the webcam "didn't work" on that night and so no viewing was possible. The attempted invasion of privacy charges require the prosecution prove that there was at least a reasonable expectation that Dharun sought to view a sexual encounter.

Despite the defense's objections, the judge did not allow Ojha to answer questions relating to what Ojha expected to see on the webcam because he deemed it too speculative.

Upon cross examination, Ojha admitted that he had lied to investigators when he initially told them that he had no further relevant information to share since he later admitted, "I helped him set it up."

Ravi had used Ojha's laptop to determine the position of the webcam in his own room. While Ojha was folding clothes nearby, Ravi clicked on his own iChat video screen name. He then walked down the hall to his own room and repositioned the webcam "an inch" toward Clementi's bed, according to Ojha. The re-positioning of the camera toward the bed may help the prosecution's case that Ravi had expected to witness a sexual encounter.

But when asked about whether Dharun expressed any hatred toward Clementi, Ojha said "He said that he liked Tyler." This statement further undermines the prosecutions charges of bias intimidation. Ojha also indicated that he and Ravi were motivated by technical curiosity when they set up the webcam.

Tampering with Evidence

Tampering is the hiding, destroying and manipulation of evidence after an investigation is underway.

Neither witness on Wednesday addressed the tampering charges against Ravi.

What to Expect:

Today, the state is expected to question the trial's most anticipated witness – MB, the 30-year-old man who is identified only by his initials to protect his identity, who was viewed kissing Clementi on September 19. M.B. also returned to Clementi's room on a second date on September 21, the night before Tyler committed suicide.

Although all witness testimony so far has been broadcast live on TruTv and online, Judge Berman ruled that M.B.'s testimony will not be televised or audio-recorded in order to protect his identity. Such privacy safeguards are usually reserved for cases involving sexual assault. Unlike the other witnesses in this case, M.B. will enter and exit the court through private hallways.

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