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Pretrial hearing set for Rutgers student accused in cyber-bullying case

From the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:32 AM EST, Fri January 20, 2012
Rutgers student Tyler Clementi killed himself after an alleged invasion of privacy by another student.
Rutgers student Tyler Clementi killed himself after an alleged invasion of privacy by another student.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dharun Ravi will go to trial in February over a 15-count indictment involving hate crime charges
  • He has turned down a plea deal that would have allowed him to avoid jail time
  • His roommate, Tyler Clementi, later killed himself, jumping from the George Washington Bridge
  • The plea deal would have required 600 hours of community service, among other things

New York (CNN) -- A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Friday in the case of a former Rutgers University student who allegedly used a web cam to stream footage of his roommate's sexual encounter with another man.

Dharun Ravi faces a 15-count indictment, which includes hate crime charges, in connection with the death of his roommate , Tyler Clementi. Clementi killed himself after the incident, jumping from the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey.

Last month, Ravi turned down a plea deal that would have allowed him to avoid jail time.

"You want to know why he's rejected the plea?" his attorney, Steven Altman, said in December. "Simple principle of law, simple principle of life -- he's innocent. He's not guilty."Ravi is a citizen of India who was studying in the U.S. legally.

Parents of suicide victim speak up

The deal offered by Middlesex County prosecutors would have required Ravi, 19, to undergo 600 hours of community service, counseling and to dispose of any information that could identify the man that Clementi was with.

Prosecutors also offered to help Ravi avoid deportation, though they said they could not guarantee it.

A second student charged in the scandal, Molly Wei, 19, reached a plea deal and that requires her testify against Ravi. In May, Wei pleaded not guilty to two counts of invasion of privacy, according to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Less than a month after Clementi's suicide, President Barack Obama released a taped video message condemning bullying.

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