Nancy Solomon, Managing Editor, New Jersey Public Radio
Nancy Solomon is the Managing Editor of New Jersey Public Radio.
A Rutgers University student said a former dorm-mate who is charged with using a webcam to spy on his roommate encouraged her and other students to tune in.
Alissa Agarwal told jurors on Tuesday that she remembers defendant Dharun Ravi sending a Twitter message daring friends to try to video chat with him the night his roommate asked to have their room to himself.
Agarwal said Ravi went to her room and showed her how his camera was set up to show his roommate's side of his room.
Ravi is on trial for invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and hindering an investigation in connection with two incidents in which he used a computer webcam to watch his roommate in an intimate encounter with a man.
Earlier Tuesday, co-defendant Molly Wei, who pleaded guilty, finished her testimony, showing more emotion than the day before.
Wei agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for no jail time, community service, and her testimony.
Her second day of testimony focused on her interviews with the police and when she was charged with the crimes. It was the first time she became emotional, when she recounted when she first learned from police that Ravi’s roommate, Tyler Clementi, may have committed suicide.
“I was sad, overwhelmed, I felt very bad if anything had happened,” Wei said. “I was just overwhelmed with emotions of sadness and I just felt so bad for what happened that I was just… I wanted to be with my parents."
Later in the day, Agarwal, testified about the second alleged incident of spying, that came just the day before Clemente killed himself.
Agarwal lived on the same dorm floor as Ravi and Clemente and was friends with Ravi. She was called by the prosecution to testify that about a tweet from Ravi.
“Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12 yes it’s happening again," the tweet read.
Agarwal told the jury that after dinner that night, Ravi was encouraging a group of friends to video chat him that night, the second night of alleged webcam spying.
“He was hypng it up,” Agarwal said.
But on cross examination, she told defense attorney Steven Altman that Ravi never said anything homophobic.
“Do you have memory of him coming into your room and him telling you that he hated his roommate?” Altman asked.
“Never,” Agarwal answered.