Dharun Ravi is the 19-year-old Rutgers student who in 2010 secretly monitored his roommate Tyler Clementi making out with another man via webcam and streamed it over the internet. Shortly after, Clementi killed himself. Ravi now faces 15 criminal counts, including invasion of privacy, and witness and evidence tampering — though he wasn't charged in connection with Clementi's death itself. Still, he's facing up to ten years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors offered him an attractive way out: A plea deal that would promise him no prison time, but included community service, probation and counseling. It also came came with the added enticement that the state would help Ravi fight any deportation charges brought against him. (Ravi is a citizen of India.) All in all, it was a pretty sweet deal.
He just rejected it.
"Simple answer, simple principle," his lawyer, Steven Altman, said after the court hearing, according to The Associated Press.
"He's innocent. He's not guilty. That's why he rejected the plea."
This comes just days after Clementi's parents spoke out for the first time to People, recalling that Ravi "wouldn't even look at Tyler" when the two were first introduced at the beginning of the semester. Ravi still has a month to change his mind, but assuming he stands by his (creepy, hateful) principles, the case goes before a jury on February 21.
Do ya feel lucky, punk? [NY Daily News, Photo via AP]