An attorney argues text messages show Dharun Ravi had no anti-gay feelings toward Tyler Clementi

By Nicole Weisensee Egan
August 11, 2011 06:30 PM
West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North/AP

Fourteen minutes after Tyler Clementi posted on his Facebook wall that he was jumping off the George Washington Bridge, he received a text message from his roommate.

“I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it,” Dharun Ravi wrote. “In fact, one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic.”

That text is among reams of texts and emails filed Thursday in court papers arguing for the dismissal of charges against Ravi connected to the suicide of the 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman last September.

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Clementi leaped off the bridge after Ravi allegedly filmed him kissing another man, then posted the footage on the Internet. Ravi was arrested and charged with 15 counts including invasion of privacy and bias.

In the motion filed in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J., defense attorney Steven Altman seeks dismissal of the charges on the grounds that this text, among other evidence potentially helpful to Ravi, was never presented to the grand jury. The text would have shown the grand jury that Ravi did not harbor bias against his roommate, Altman argues.

The text goes on to read, “I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt. You have to right to move if you wish, but I don’t want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.”

Ravi is one of two students charged in the case, which sparked a national conversation about cyber-bullying.

Molly Wei, 19, who was in the room at the time of the alleged posting of the video, has agreed to testify against Ravi, as well as undergo counseling and perform community service. If she meets the terms of the agreement, she will have her charges dropped.

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