(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) — Prosecutors and court officials in the Rutgers invasion of privacy trial have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the identity of a key witness anonymous, even during his upcoming testimony.
A gay man identified only by his initial “M.B.” is expected to testify as early as Wednesday in the trial of Dharun Ravi, a former Rutgers student who is on trial for allegedly using his webcam to peek at freshman roommate Tyler Clementi as he kissed M.B., and allegedly urging other friends and students to watch.
Clementi, who was 18, committed suicide a few days later by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. His case was cited by activists as an example of anti-gay bullying.
Besides invasion of privacy, Ravi, who is now 20, is charged with bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest.
M.B. has been described as a man of about 30. His identity is being protected because he is being treated as a victim of the alleged crime. Also, he is not out as a gay man.
M.B. and Clementi met online. The two had a rendezvous in Clementi’s Rutgers dorm room on Sept. 19, 2010 and again on Sept. 21.
He is expected to testify about his relationship with Clementi, what he and Clementi knew about the webcam and Clementi’s reaction to his roommate.
Testimony so far has featured Ravi’s classmates describing how he tweeted about Clementi’s gay dates and urged them to also watch. Those classmates have also repeatedly said that Ravi had not expressed any anti-gay feelings or disdain for Clementi for being gay. They said he was more concerned that Clementi’s date was older and apparently not a Rutgers student who might steal his iPad.
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