Former Bergen County Prosecutor John Fahy thinks defense attorney Steve Altman has done a very good job in raising reasonable doubt in the case against his client Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers student who is accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi’s intimate encounter with another man.
On the charge of invasion of privacy, Altman says the defense was trying to show that Ravi’s actions were similar to that of kids playing fraternity pranks, not realizing what he was doing.
With regard to intimidation bias, Fahy says except for a couple of text messages, there is not much proof that Ravi acted the way he did because Tyler Clementi was gay.
As for the charge of obstruction of justice/witness tampering, Fahy says that there were one or two texts by Ravi that was hard for the defense to explain.
Fahy also had high marks for the prosecution. He thinks that Prosecutor Julia McClure was very effective in presenting the state’s case, noting her artful and methodical approach whenever using words such as “gay,” “intimidation,” or “invasion of privacy.”
When asked if the police interrogation video hurt the defense, Fahy says that Ravi came across as a scared kid not used to being in that situation and fearful of his college future. The video however did catch Ravi in a lie, says Fahy, when Ravi stated that on September 12, he had turned the computer off and then turned it back on. The evidence doesn’t support that assertion, says Fahy.
So how soon can we expect a verdict?
According to Fahy, there is an unwritten rule among experienced trial attorneys that for every day of testimony, there will be approximately an hour of deliberation. He predicts that the jury will be deliberating for at least 2 days and inclined to expect a verdict late Friday afternoon.