Chandra Levy Murder Retrial Set for March

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A retrial of the man accused of killing intern Chandra Levy in 2001, a scandal that ended the political career of former Congressman Gary Condit, will begin in March 2016.
     Prosecutors set the schedule at a brief conference Friday with defense attorneys for Ingmar Guandique, who was sentenced to 60 years for Levy’s murder in 2011. The D.C. Superior Court granted Guandique’s retrial motion last week after the government withdrew its objection.
     Guandique’s attorneys have raised challenges to closing arguments the government gave at the original trial and its handling then of a key witness.
     Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent Cohen Jr. emphasized last week the government’s belief “that the jury’s verdict was correct.”
     “The government also believes that nothing in the thousands of pages of information that have been produced about Mr. Morales and the USAO-DC’s prosecution of the defendant nor anything else revealed by the government’s comprehensive post-trial investigation, casts doubt on the defendant’s guilt of the murder of Chandra Levy,” Cohen wrote. “Accordingly, the government is preparing for a retrial of the defendant.
     Jury selection for the new trial will begin March 1, 2016, before Judge Robert Morin. The government expects the case to last three to four weeks, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Gorman said in court.
     The defense originally requested the trial begin in November 2015, but scheduling conflicts between the attorneys pushed the start date into the new year.
     In addition to the date for the new trial, the court scheduled a second status hearing for July 14 as well as two other hearings in February 2016.
     Levy was a 24-year-old intern for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons who had been having an affair with then-Rep. Condit when she disappeared in May 2001. Her body was found 13 months later.
     Prosecutors later blamed mistakes by police and the media frenzy over the suspicion of Condit for delaying the focus on Guandique, then a 29-year-old undocumented immigrant from El Salvador.
     Though cleared of involvement in Levy’s death, Condit lost his bid for re-election in California.

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