Thursday, April 26, 2018

Defendant's views on gays are focus in trial

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's intimate liaison with another man opened Friday with questions about whether the defendant has a problem with gay people.

A prosecutor told jurors that Dharun Ravi, now 19, spied on roommate Tyler Clementi and acted maliciously "to deprive him of his dignity." Clementi, in an act that sparked a national conversation about the bullying of young gay people, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010.

Ravi's lawyer insisted his client isn't bigoted.

"He may be stupid at times," defense attorney Steven Altman said in his opening statement. "He's an 18-year-old boy, but he's certainly not a criminal."

Early witnesses testified that Ravi expressed discomfort about having a gay roommate, but they said they didn't know him to have a problem with gay people generally.

His attitude matters in the trial because the 15 charges Ravi faces include bias intimidation, which can carry a 10-year prison sentence. To get a conviction on that charge, prosecutors must persuade jurors that Ravi acted out of bias against gays.

Ravi also is charged with invasion of privacy. And he is accused of trying to cover his tracks by taking measures including deleting a Twitter message and instructing a witness in what to tell police. He is not charged with Clementi's death.

In her half-hour opening statement, First Assistant Middlesex County prosecutor Julia McClure did not mention Clementi's suicide. But she said that Ravi's actions were intended to victimize his roommate.

It wasn't just that he used his webcam to see what Clementi was up to, she said; he also posted on Twitter to tell others about it and later told them how they'd be able watch a second liaison.

Comments
Column: What Democrats can learn from Emmanuel Macron

Column: What Democrats can learn from Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump don’t agree on much. Macron is a globalist; Trump is a nationalist. Macron is a free-trader; Trump just imposed protectionist tariffs on steel and aluminum. Macron wants the United States to remain in Syria;...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

For starters: Rays at Orioles, looking to make it a six-pack of W’s

UPDATE, 6:05: LHP Jonny Venters said he was touched and a bit overwhelmed by all the people the reached out to congratulate him on his return to the majors for the first time since 2012. … Cash said Matt Duffy (right hamstring strain) is set to...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

Details emerge in fiery crash that killed prominent Moffitt doctor

TEMPLE TERRACE — Investigators say an orange sports car was moving at about 90 mph when it ran a red light and broadsided a prominent doctor’s car last month on Fowler Avenue. The impact caused Dr. Charles Canaan Williams’ Acura to catch fire almost ...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Bret Stephens: Bush 41, Trump, and American decline

Bret Stephens: Bush 41, Trump, and American decline

George H.W. Bush once vomited on the prime minister of Japan. It was a mortifying but innocent incident, the result of a nasty stomach bug. Donald Trump has spent the past couple of days effectively doing likewise on France’s Emmanuel Macron.What’s T...
Updated: 18 minutes ago

Editorial: It’s up to Florida’s voters to restore felons’ civil rights now

The disappointing ruling Wednesday by a federal appeals court should erase any doubt that the decision on restoring voting rights for felons rests solely on the conscience of Florida voters. A tortured ruling by the minimum majority of a three-judge ...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

The Lightning is fun, but does its playoff run translate into dollars for Tampa?

TAMPA — As the Tampa Bay Lightning waits for the Boston Bruins to come to town for the next round of playoffs, the city’s business community — members large and small — say it has already won the NHL postseason.At WestShore Plaza this week, with blue...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
FEC plans crackdown on zombie campaigns

FEC plans crackdown on zombie campaigns

The federal agency that oversees elections has announced a crackdown on former lawmakers who continue to spend leftover campaign donations long after leaving office.The Federal Election Commission announced Wednesday that it will start scrutinizing t...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

Police announce two more arrests in St. Pete strip club shooting

ST. PETERSBURG — Two more arrests were made recently in connection with the April 2 shooting death of a man outside an unlicensed adult entertainment venue on Fourth Street S, police said.Rodriguez Green, 24, of Largo and Darius Trennell Collins, 23,...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

Hernando High student accused of threatening to shoot up school

BROOKSVILLE — A 17-year-old Hernando High School student was arrested Wednesday for threatening to shoot people at the school, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.The student was serving a suspension at the time of the incident, deputie...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lydia Ko tied for early lead at chilly Lake Merced

Lydia Ko tied for early lead at chilly Lake Merced

Lydia Ko shot a 4-under 68 in the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship for a share of the lead halfway through the first round
Updated: 1 hour ago