Judge: Lawyers must get ID of man in Clementi case
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey judge ruled Friday that prosecutors must give defense lawyers the name of the man who was allegedly seen in a webcam video having an intimate encounter with Rutgers student Tyler Clementi.
Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman also ruled that no part of a 15-count indictment of Clementi's former roommate, Dharun Ravi, will be dismissed. In doing so, he denied Ravi's lawyer's contention that prosecutors did not offer a grand jury earlier this year enough evidence about the alleged crimes.
Ravi is accused of the hate crime of bias intimidation, using a webcam to invade the privacy of the two men and trying to cover up it up afterward.
Days after the alleged spying in September 2010, the 18-year-old Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. His story set off a national conversation about bullying of young gays.
While the judge said defense lawyers had the right to the name of the other man in the encounter, it came with catches. They cannot reveal the name of the man, identified in court documents as M.B., to anyone except for their investigator and Ravi. And they're not allowed to tell anyone who he is.
Berman also said that they can attempt to interview the man only at the office of the Middlesex County prosecutor and with a representative from the office present. And, he warned, M.B. has the right to decide not to talk with Ravi's lawyers at all — and predicted he will decide to exercise that right.
Ravi sat between his lawyers wearing a charcoal suit, and mostly kept his eyes trained on the judge. He did smile at one point about some confusion over the man's initials.
Who M.B. is and what he knew has been one of the persistent mysteries of a case that has unfolded publicly over the last year.
Court documents suggest that Ravi and some other Rutgers students glimpsed him briefly in an encounter with Clementi on Sept. 19, 2010. Ravi is also accused of setting up his webcam to try to capture them in a second liaison two days later. Ravi has denied all charges.