By GEOFF MULVIHILL
CAMDEN, N.J. – Prosecutors on Wednesday gave up their legal battle to keep the name of the mystery man in the Rutgers University webcam spying case a secret and complied with a judge’s order to give the name to the suspect and his lawyer.
Dharun Ravi, lawyer Steven Altman and an investigator can know the man’s name–but they’re not allowed to reveal it to anyone, even in the course of their investigation.
Ravi, 19, is accused of using a webcam in September 2010 to spy on roommate Tyler Clementi’s intimate encounter with the man, who has been publicly identified only as M.B.
The case became a touchstone for a national conversation about bullying faced by young gays after Clementi killed himself just days after the encounter.
Ravi faces 15 charges, including invasion of privacy, the hate crime of bias intimidation and could face 10 years in prison if he’s convicted. A trial is scheduled for February.
The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office and M.B. had both fought having his name made public.
Last week, the man’s lawyer, Richard Pompelio, told Judge Glenn Berman that M.B.’s right to privacy outweighs Ravi’s defense rights. M.B. said in court papers that he’s living in fear of having the media dissect his life.
But on Wednesday, Pompelio said that both the decision to comply with Berman’s order and the order itself were appropriate.
And he said he’d closely monitor it.
“I’ve made it clear to the defense: You approach anybody and use his name, I’m going to deem you to be in violation of the judge’s order,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”