The criminal prosecution is inextricably linked to Clementi's decision to take his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22.
But the suicide has nothing to do with the charges against Ravi, which focus on his motivation and role in events that took place in Davidson Hall on the Piscataway campus in the days leading up to Clementi's death.
Ravi, 19, of Plainsboro, N.J., has been charged with invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, and tampering with evidence. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free on bail.
The case moved a step closer to trial Friday when Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman rejected a defense motion seeking to have all charges dropped. Berman is expected to set a trial date at a hearing Oct. 20.
The defense motions and the prosecution's response were supported by hundreds of pages of evidence, including e-mails, text messages, and Twitter messages sent by Clementi and Ravi; testimony of law enforcement investigators; and statements from Rutgers students, including Ravi and Molly Wei, who - like Ravi - has left Rutgers. Wei, who was a fellow freshman, is charged in the case with invasion of privacy and is cooperating with authorities.
Rarely has so much information been publicly available before the start of a trial.
Here, based on those documents, is a look at some of the key issues and individuals who have surfaced in the investigation on which the case against Ravi is built.
Clementi, Ravi, Wei, and an individual identified as "M.B.," the man who visited Clementi's room, are the central figures in the story.
Clementi, an 18-year-old from Ridgewood, N.J., is portrayed through his own words and those of friends as an introverted aspiring musician - he was an accomplished violinist - trying to establish his identity as a gay man.
Ravi, according to statements, text messages, and his comments to law enforcement officials, is either outgoing or obnoxious, self-confident or self-absorbed. In the investigation, the self-described computer wonk emerges as someone who enjoyed calling attention to himself and never hesitated to use electronic media to do that.
During questioning by investigators Sept. 23, Ravi conceded that he probably had violated Clementi's privacy. More complex is the question of whether he set out to harass and intimidate his roommate because Clementi was gay, a charge that carries more significant jail time.
Ravi also faces charges of tampering with evidence for, among other things, allegedly trying to alter or erase Twitter messages he sent between Sept. 19 and 21.
Though the common perception is that Clementi's sexual encounter on Sept. 19 was streamed on the Internet, evidence indicates that it was seen live via an iChat webcam connected to Ravi's laptop computer, and that only those linked to the video chat were able to watch it.
Ravi and Wei have told authorities they watched the tryst from Wei's computer in her dorm room. Wei said she and other women from the dorm viewed the encounter later that night.
The second time, she said, Clementi and M.B. had their shirts off. On each occasion, Wei said, the video eavesdropping lasted "seconds."
Both times, Wei said, Clementi and M.B. were seen "groping" and "kissing." Because the encounter was shown live, authorities cannot retrieve the images.
Ravi said he did not know what to expect when he and Wei linked to his webcam.
"I just felt, like, really uncomfortable and, like, almost, like, guilty that I saw that," Ravi told investigators during questioning Sept. 23.
During that session, he denied he was trying to harass Clementi.
Prosecutors say, however, that he almost gleefully texted friends, "Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into Molly's room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay."
"It's happening again," Ravi said in a text message sent to friends Sept. 21, informing them that Clementi had again asked to have the dorm room to himself.
"I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12:00."
Though the prosecution contends that Ravi had again set his computer in place to pick up the encounter, Ravi said he put it "to sleep" so no one could access it.
Upset after learning that the Sept. 19 visit from M.B. had been shown via Ravi's iChat webcam, Clementi messaged a friend that he shut Ravi's computer off on Sept. 21.
It does not appear that anyone saw the Sept. 21 encounter, despite Ravi's mention in another message of a viewing "party."
Both the "dare" and "party" comments were not meant to be taken literally, Ravi told investigators who recovered his text messages.
"I said that in a sarcastic way. . . . That's just the way I talk," he said, adding that some of his friends were just "joking" about the party.
Wei, 19, has been described as a high school friend of Ravi's. In an April 5 statement to investigators, however, she said she had distanced herself from him during their years at West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional High School because she found him bombastic and egotistic.
She said Ravi made up stories, claiming that he was going to receive a basketball scholarship to Duke University, that he was "famous for snowboarding in Canada," and that his picture "was on billboards all over India."
She said she was surprised to find she had been assigned a room across the hall from his at Rutgers.
Wei has been admitted to a pretrial program that could result in the charges against her being dropped based on her cooperation and her participation in a counseling program.
She is expected to be a key trial witness.
Though the defense has contended that Clementi made light of the first webcam incident, text messages he sent two days later indicate he was upset.
He formally requested a room change, writing in an e-mail to the dorm's resident adviser in the early hours of Sept. 22, "I feel that my privacy has been violated and I am extremely uncomfortable sharing a room with someone who would act in this wildly inappropriate manner."
But Clementi turned down an offer to be relocated immediately, according to a resident adviser at the dorm.
Though Clementi's suicide is not mentioned in the indictment, the defense has contended it is the only reason Ravi faces serious charges.
Ravi's lawyers allege that Clementi was struggling with issues related to his sexual orientation before he arrived at Rutgers.
Citing text messages Clementi sent to friends, they allege that he disclosed to his parents over the summer that he was gay, and that his mother was having problems dealing with it.
They also say that in July, before he met Ravi, Clementi took photos of the George Washington Bridge that were found on his cellphone.
M.B. has not yet been identified, but Judge Glenn Berman indicated Friday that the defense had a right to his name. That issue has not been resolved.
Wei and Ravi described him as an "older" man, about 25 or 26.
According to court documents, Clementi met M.B. through Adam4Adam, which bills itself as a chat room and "dating and hookup" website for gay men. Documents also indicate that M.B. told investigators he first visited Clementi in his dorm room Sept. 16 and that they had sex.
The defense, in an attempt to show that Ravi was not out to intimidate or harass Clementi, cited a text he sent Clementi the night of Sept. 22.
In the text, Ravi apologized for any "petty misunderstanding" and said he felt "guilt" over the "distorted and disturbing" rumors about the video iChat incident.
Prosecutors described the message, sent at 8:56 p.m., as "one of many attempts by [Ravi] to dilute, cover up, and . . . tamper with the facts and to fabricate evidence."
No one knows whether Clementi ever read the texted apology.
Minutes before it was sent, he posted on Facebook from his cellphone. He changed his status to "jumping off the gw bridge."
"Sorry," he wrote.
Contact staff writer George Anastasia at 856-779-3846 or email@example.com.