Rutgers Trial: The Political Firestorm Before the Indictment

Of note, Parker reported that on Sept. 22, 2010, Ravi had written Clementi a letter of apology. He sent it at 8:46 p.m., four minutes after Clementi's final text from the George Washington Bridge.

"I've known you were gay and I have no problem with it," Ravi wrote. "In fact on of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. … I don't want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it's adding to my guilt. You have the right to move if you wish, but I don't want you to feel pressure to without fully understanding the situation."

It will probably never be known if Clementi read it. It wasn't shared with the grand jury, but it is now in evidence in the trial.

After the New Yorker story, the Tyler Clementi debate became more informed and more reasonable. People began wondering – out loud – if the prosecutor had over-indicted the case. A recent Star-Ledger editorial suggested that the New Jersey's hate crime statute was inappropriate, outdated and should be revised.

"The bias statute doesn't have to be changed. It's how it's implemented, like any other criminal charge, that's the issue," said New Jersey Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a co-sponsoor of the law.

The trial bore out Parker's piece. The simplistic tale of bigotry and bullying teetered under its own weight. For the most part, the consensus of reporters and legal analysts following the trial is that the state's hate crime charges are thin, at best.

After hearing all the evidence, legal analysts openly wondered why the state insisted charging Ravi with hate crimes. The privacy and tampering charges could go either way.

"Time will tell why the prosecutor brought these bias charges into a courtroom," says John Fahy, a former New Jersey prosecutor. "In my view, the facts and evidence seem to have gotten in the way of a very sensational indictment."

And the question we should then address it this: Are there two victims in the State vs. Dharun Ravi?

Soon the jury will deliberate. Then they will speak, displacing the court of public opinion. They will utter the final word of any consequence in the State v Dharun Ravi. One way or the other, though, their verdict will offer a cautionary tale.

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