October 18, 2010 by Post Team
Chandra Levy, WASHINGTON – If a person is associated with the mysterious death of Washington intern Chandra Levy, who is not the man who will soon be tried on charges that he murdered. He is a former California congressman Gary Condit, whose career imploded after he was linked romantically to the woman and became the No. 1 suspect.
Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, is on trial on Monday for 2001 Levy’s killing. However, even a national consciousness about the case, which dominated news coverage until t*rror*sm September 11, 2001, attacks that represents an afterthought.
Although police do not believe Condit had nothing to do with Levy’s death, his presence will hang over the trial. Condit spokesman, Bert Fields, said Condit waiting to be called as a witness at trial Guandique, but has not been cited.
Campos said Condit will fully cooperate with the authorities. However, the former congressman, who is writing a book about his experience, would not comment on the trial until the end.
Bill Miller, a prosecution spokesman, declined to comment on the case and whether Condit will be called as a witness, citing a court order issued earlier this month.
Defense attorneys are also subject to the gag order. But when Guandique was charged in 2009 with the murder of Levy, criticized what they saw as a botched investigation. Guandique escaped scrutiny largely because of the frenzy around Condit. The former congressman has never admitted an affair, but said he was a friend of Levy, but the inmate had told relatives of the two had a romantic relationship.
“This research flawed, marked by the many mistakes and missteps of the Metropolitan Police Department and all federal agencies that have tried to resolve this case will not end with the simple issue of a warrant of arrest against Mr. Guandique,” told lawyers, Santha Sonenberg and Hawilo Mary.
In a pretrial hearing Thursday, Sonenberg said police were so desperate for a confession of Guandique to bolster their case that in 2004 and 2005, the police tried to establish a correspondence with false Guandique while in prison serving a sentence of 10 years, using the pseudonym “Mary Smith.” The ruse did not work.
“It’s going to the class clown, the kind of mischief, the lengths they have gone to pursue Mr. Guandique,” Sonenberg said.
The then U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor acknowledged the case had no DNA or physical evidence linking Guandique Levy. And Guandique never confessed to the police – in fact, passed a lie detector test denying involvement in Levy’s disappearance, but prosecutors now question the validity of that test.
But Taylor cited substantial circumstantial evidence, including confessions allegedly made numerous Guandique to other inmates. Levy and the body was found in a wooded section of Rock Creek Park City, where Guandique was convicted of assaulting two other young women in 2001.
In a pretrial hearing last month, U.S. Assistant Attorney Amanda Haines said Guandique has a “signature style confession.” She said that Levy had discussed killing many people, giving each person markedly different details.
If jurors believe these confessions will be key. The defense wants to present expert testimony of a university professor about the dangers of the accounts of prison informers. But prosecutors say the jurors should be able to judge the credibility of the witnesses themselves. Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher says it will not allow the great majority of the testimonies given by the teacher.
As for Condit, exactly what role he will play in court is unclear. Defense attorneys might be tempted to remind the jurors that the police suspect Condit for so long, said attorney George Jackson, a Chicago-based attorney with the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart and a former federal prosecutor.
Jackson said the defense will have to be careful because jurors feel discouraged if the lawyers are trying to make an innocent man as a scapegoat. And the government will surely be ready to deal with suggestions that Condit was involved. But because Condit is so closely linked to the case in the public eye, the defense has a margin of maneuver to approach the subject with subtlety.
“If it is possible to suggest that this man might have been involved, you put out there” to help create a reasonable doubt in the minds of a jury, said Jackson. “But it is a dangerous thing to do because I do not know if there will be a backlash.”
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