A key prosecution witness in the Rutgers University webcam spying trial told jurors on Monday that she wasn't aware of a plan to humiliate the alleged victim, who later killed himself.
Molly Wei testified in the trial of Dharun Ravi, who is charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and other crimes. He could face more 10 years in prison if convicted of all of them.
Ravi is accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man. The roommate, Tyler Clementi, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010.
In response to cross-examination from Ravi's lawyer, Wei agreed that Ravi didn't intend to see any sexual contact. She also said he didn't plan to humiliate Clementi when he used a webcam to see what was happening in his dorm room.
At first, she said, she and Ravi agreed not to tell anyone that they had seen two men kissing on Ravi's webcam.
"First of all, it was shocking. It felt wrong. We didn't expect to see that. And now that what we did, it was like we shouldn't have seen it," she said. "We didn't want people to know what had happened."
But, as she described it, she soon told several friends about it — and showed the video stream to four other students. There's also been testimony that Ravi told people about the video in person, online and through Twitter messages.
Wei was initially charged in the case but entered a program to keep her record clean.
Also Monday, jurors heard that Clementi requested a room change about 30 hours after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to spy on his encounter with another man.
William O'Brien, a university official, testified that Tyler Clementi requested a room change on Sept. 21, 2010.
But before O'Brien testified, a judge said he would not be able to say that Clementi put on his request form for a room change that his roommate spied on him with a webcam. Prosecutors wanted the line included and argued that it would be allowed because it was part of a business record since it came from a university form.
But Judge Glenn Berman said the statement should be excluded, ruling that it was not a business record because it was Clementi and not a Rutgers official who filled out the document.
The line that said as much was blacked out when the jury was shown the form blown up on a screen in the courtroom.
Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days on Sept. 22, 2010.
O'Brien, an assistant director of residential life at Rutgers, told jurors that his staff did not see Clementi's request for a new roommate until after he was reported missing from campus.