Rutgers Student Dharun Ravi Doesn't Testify as Defense Rests

PHOTO: Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student waits before court proceedings in New Brunswick, N.J, March 9, 2012.
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Accused Rutgers student Dharun Ravi did not take the stand to defend himself against charges that he activated a webcam to peek at roommate Tyler Clementi and another man kissing and then encouraged others to do the same.

The defense rested its case today in the trial of Ravi, who told Judge Glenn Berman that he did not want to testify.

Ravi, now 20, is charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest. The charges stem from his alleged spying on Clementi's date on Sept. 19, 2010 and then encouraging others to do the same during Clementi's second date on Sept. 21.

Clementi, who was an 18-year-old freshman, killed himself on Sept. 22 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. His death and the charges against Ravi sparked public outrage over cyber-bullying and gay-bullying among students.

Ravi, however, is not charged in connection with Clementi's death. Clementi left behind a note, but its contents have never been made public.

Clementi's parents have attended every day of the trial, often sitting in the front row with Clementi's two older brothers.

Before resting, defense attorney Steven Altman requested a mistrial based on information revealed during Altman's questioning of the lead investigator on the case, Frank DiNinno.

DiNinno disclosed that during the course of the Ravi investigation, he had conversations with Rutgers students that Altman was not told about. During a heated exchange, Altman and Berman argued about whether that information was relevant to the case, with Altman requesting a sidebar discussion of the issue multiple times.

"I would like to be heard on this," Altman said to Berman, after twice being told to move on in his questioning to other topics. Altman, shaking his head and visibly agitated, was denied his request for a sidebar conversation and told that he would be given a chance to discuss it during a break, while the jury was absent.

After taking a short recess, Altman returned with his request for mistrial, arguing that the prosecution did not hand over all relevant evidence ahead of the trial, a violation of the Brady rule.

Both the prosecution and Berman disagreed, noting that the interviews with students were not important to Ravi's case because they yielded no information about the alleged crimes.

Berman denied Altman's request, the second request for a mistrial by Altman to be denied by Berman. Earlier in the trial, the judge rejected a motion by Altman to dismiss to dimsiss several of the state's charges, including the most serious bias counts.

Closing arguments on Tuesday morning, before sending the jury into deliberations. Ravi faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

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