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Entries in Molly Wei (6)

Wednesday
Feb292012

Rutgers Witness Says Others Were Urged to Spy on Tyler Clementi

ABC News(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- Rutgers students testified Tuesday that Dharun Ravi urged other students to spy on his roommate's gay date, while defense lawyers suggested a key witness agreed to testify against Ravi in exchange for having criminal charges against her dropped.

Ravi is on trial for invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest for allegedly using his webcam to spy on his freshman roommate Tyler Clementi during a date with another man.

Part of the charges against Ravi include that he tweeted about what he saw when he peeked through his webcam and that he allegedly invited others to watch when Clementi was having a second date with the man.  That second viewing, however, never occurred.

The case gained national prominence when Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge several days later and the story became a focal point for anti-bullying activists.

Alissa Agarwal, a Rutgers student who was friends with Ravi, and Molly Wei, who was originally charged along with Ravi, testified for the prosecution and underwent lengthy cross examination by the defense on Tuesday.

A poignant moment in the case came when Wei told the court that after her first interview with police she went home to her parents instead of back to her dorm.

"It was overwhelming because at the end of the statement the police told me that Tyler was missing and may have committed suicide," Wei said.  "I was overcome with emotions.  I felt so bad about what happened and I wanted to be with my parents."

It was the first time Clementi's suicide has been mentioned in the trial other than at the beginning of jury selection when the judge told prospective jurors that Clementi would not be testifying because he is dead, but that the charges were unrelated to the suicide.

Agarwal told the court that she received a tweet from Ravi on Sept. 19 that read, "roommate asked for room for the night. I went to molly's room and turned on my webcam and he was making out with a dude. Yay."

She said she received another tweet from Ravi on Sept. 21, supposedly alerting his friends that Clementi was asking for their shared dorm room again so he could have another date and suggesting they watch by contacting his webcam.

"Anyone with ichat, I dare you to ichat me from the hours of 930 and midnight. Yes, it is happening again," Ravi tweeted.

Agarwal said that on the evening of Sept. 21, Ravi explained to her in the presence of other students that his webcam was set on auto accept "in order for multiple people to be able to view Tyler's side of the room."  He also demonstrated for her by opening up her iChat program and it showed Clementi's side of the dorm room.

"He [Ravi] was just talking about the second tweet, warning us about it," she testified.  "He was encouraging us to abide by his tweet."

Agarwal said that she spent several hours with Ravi later that evening, but he did not peek at his webcam or discuss Clementi with her again.

Earlier in the day, Wei told the court that she and Ravi peeked Clementi for a few seconds, seeing the two men kissing.  But she said Ravi was not alarmed that Clementi had a gay liaison, but worried that the much older man did not appear to be a Rutgers student and might steal his iPad.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Rutgers Witness 'Overwhelmed' When Told Tyler Clementi Feared Dead

ABC News(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- Rutgers University student Molly Wei, who spied on fellow student Tyler Clementi as he kissed another man, told a New Jersey court on Tuesday that she was "overcome with emotion" when police told her Clementi may have committed suicide.

Wei is a key witness in the trial of Dahrun Ravi, another Rutgers student who is on trial for invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest.

The case gained national prominence when Clementi, a freshman, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge several days later and the story became a focal point for anti-bullying activists.

Ravi was Clementi's roommate and the prosecution claims he set up his webcam to be able to watch the gay date on Sept. 19, 2010. He and Wei peeked briefly at the couple from Wei's computer in a dorm room across the hall.

Wei has testified that Ravi was concerned that Clementi's date would steal his iPad.

Wei was initially arrested and charged with invasion of privacy, but those charges have been dropped in exchange for Wei's testimony at the trial and doing 300 hours of community service.

During cross examination on Tuesday, Wei recounted how she gave a statement to police about what happened.  When the questioning was over, an emotional Wei said she went home to her parents instead of returning to her dorm.

"It was overwhelming because at the end of the statement the police told me that Tyler was missing and may have committed suicide," Wei told the court.  "I was overcome with emotions.  I felt so bad about what happened and I wanted to be with my parents."

It was the first time Clementi's suicide has been mentioned in the trial other than at the beginning of jury selection when the judge told prospective jurors that Clementi would not be testifying because he is dead, but that the charges were unrelated to the suicide.

Wei also told the court that on Sept. 27, she contacted police because she wanted to give them more information.  She told them about a conversation she had with several friends at lunch and was surprised when her friends -- who were not in the room when she and Ravi spied on Clementi -- brought up the incident.

"One said it was so stupid what Dahrun did... And they told me about the twitter, tweets they received about a viewing party," Wei testified.

Wei said she had not been aware that Ravi had tweeted about what they saw on his webcam.  The prosecution claims that Ravi tweeted about Clementi's date on Sept. 19 and tweeted again two days later that Clementi was having another date.  There is no indication, however, that he spied on Clementi on Sept. 21.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May232011

Ravi Pleads Not Guilty in Tyler Clementi Case

Tyler Clementi/Facebook(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- A man accused of broadcasting by webcam an intimate encounter between his roommate and another man appeared in New Brunswick Superior Court on Monday.

Dharun Ravi, 19, of Plainsboro, N.J. faces 15 counts for incidents which resulted in Tyler Clementi's suicide jump off the George Washington Bridge after he learned of his roommate's Internet broadcast.  The former Rutgers student's lawyer Steven Altman pled not guilty on Ravi's behalf at an arraignment that lasted 10 minutes.

Co-defendant Molly Wei, who enrolled in a pre-trial intervention program, agreed to testify against Ravi, who could face up to 10 years in prison.

In a statement, the Clementi family said "Our family is grateful for the active work of the prosecutor's office in this case. We are eager to see the criminal justice process move forward."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May062011

Tyler Clementi Case: Wei Agrees to Deal

Tyler Clementi/Facebook(NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.) -- The cyber-bullying case of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who killed himself in 2010, reached a partial conclusion on Friday as former Rutgers student Molly Wei agreed to cooperate with authorities.

In exchange for help in the prosecution of a fellow student, Dharun Ravi, Wei agreed on Friday to join an intervention program that requires her to perform 300 hours of community service over the next three years and undergo counseling for cyberbullying.

Wei and Ravi faced charges after Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers freshman, threw himself off the George Washington Bridge in September 2010 upon learning that Ravi had encouraged fellow students to view a webcast of Clementi and another man having sex. Wei's laptop was used to view the webcam video; Wei also allegedly watched the sexual encounter.

Clementi's family issued a statement Friday saying, "Actions have consequences. We wish that Ms. Wei will become a person who will make better decisions, will help people and show kindness to those she comes in contact with."

Wei's attorney, Rubin Sinins, countered that while his client took responsibility for her actions, she had been unfairly maligned.

"She has been demonized as a cyberbully and sort of the poster child for cyberbullying, which could not be further from the truth," said Sinins. He added, "Even before there was any arrest, even before there were any charges Molly was fully cooperative with law enforcement…"

Clementi's suicide caused national outrage and became a symbol of the problem of cyberbullying.

The case against Dharun Ravi is still proceeding.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov012010

Lawyers: Accused Rutgers Students Did Not See Tyler Clementi Having Sex

Photo Courtesy - Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Lawyers for the two former Rutgers freshmen accused of streaming classmate Tyler Clementi's tryst with another man on the Internet say the live video stream was viewed on a single computer and did not includes images of sexual intercourse.

Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, both 18, were charged with invasion of privacy after Ravi used a webcam on Sept. 19 to capture his roommate having a sexual encounter with an older man and broadcast it to at least one computer in Wei's dorm room. Ravi alerted classmates via Twitter that they too could watch the livestream.

Days later Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge, becoming an international flashpoint in ongoing debate about cyberbullying and teen suicide.

"When the forensic evidence from all the seized computers is revealed, the truth will come out," Steve Altman, Ravi's attorney, told the Newark Star-Ledger. "Nothing was transmitted beyond one computer and what was seen was only viewed for a matter of seconds."

In the interview, Ravi and Wei's lawyers said the two men only kissed each other, and because they were not naked the act did not constitute a sexual encounter.

Prosecutors are considering upgrading the charges against Ravi and Wei to a hate crime, but would not comment on the defense lawyers' recent statements to the media.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct062010

Lawyer for Rutgers Students Speak Out

Photo Courtesy - Stephen Michael Garey Photography(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The two Rutgers University students accused of secretly filming Tyler Clementi in his dorm room just days before he leaped to his death have broken their silence to insist they did not bully Clementi.

A lawyer for 18-year-old Dharun Ravi, who was roommates with Clementi, issued a statement urging the public not to "rush to charges" against his client.

"Unfortunately, a life has been lost," said attorney Steven Altman in the statement. "Out of respect to Tyler Clementi's family, this is not the time for explanations of defenses or justifications to be made public by an attorney."

"In regards to statements made by the prosecuting agencies of their continuing investigation and whether to file bias charges against Dharun Ravi, I am heartened to hear that they are taking their time to learn all the facts before rushing to judgment. I can only hope that the public will do the same," wrote Altman. "I am confident that nothing will be learned to justify, warrant or support the filing of any bias criminal complaint."

Both Ravi and his alleged accomplice, fellow Rutgers freshman Molly Wei, face several privacy invasion charges after allegedly filming Clementi during a "sexual encounter" in his dorm room with a man and then streaming it live on the Internet. If convicted, Ravi and Wei could each face five years in prison.

Copyright 2010  ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio