Rutgers Trial Summation Fireworks as Case Heads to Jury


Rutgers Trial Summations

Altman advised the jury that it was up to them to decide whether Ravi was "hateful and he was biased, and ugly and anti-gay and he hated his roommate," or whether he was instead "stupid, he's ignorant, maybe immature and a typical 18-year-old kid. Or is his reaction criminal."

Altman ended by playing for the jury once more the interrogation tape of Ravi meeting with police investigators after Clementi's death, apparently so the jury could see his calm demeanor while being accused by the officers of lying to them.

Ravi's lawyer went after the credibility of key witness Lokesh Ohja, a fellow Rutgers student. Ohja testified that Ravi asked his help in aiming his webcam at Clementi's bed, and that Ravi encouraged him and others to activate the webcam during Clementi's second date on Sept. 21 with a man identified only as M.B.

During questioning, Ohja admitted to lying to police during the Ravi investigation and was at times sulky during his testimony.

"Lokesh Ohja, remember how he was, slinking down in that chair, becoming defiant and disrespectful?" Altman said to the jury during his summation today. "Over and over again wouldn't give me an answer. So you've got to see whether or not they've got anything to hide, any motive in the testimony."

Altman noted that because Lokesh had admitted to lying to prosecutors, he was eager to curry favor from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office to avoid being criminally charged.

"He himself said he was scared, when he gave statements on Oct. 29 and Nov. 18, and what he was scared of was destroying his college education because he knew he lied under oath," Altman said.

Altman also questioned the reliability of M.B., Clementi's date from the night of the alleged spying.

During his testimony, M.B. told the jury that during his and Clementi's sexual encounter, he noticed things that made him uncomfortable about being there: he saw a webcam pointed at him while he was on Clementi's bed, he heard people outside laughing and wondered if they could see into the dorm room, and he noticed people staring at him in the hall as he left the dorm.

Those observations did not amount to a feeling of intimidation, Atlman argued.

Altman attributed M.B.'s admitted discomfort to his age, and suggested that a 30-something on a college campus would naturally feel out of place.

The jury will reassemble at 9 a.m. Wednesday to hear the judge's instructions, which are expected to take about 90 minutes, before beginning deliberations over a verdict.

Ravi could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

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