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Condit mum on question of affair with Levy
Testifies police tried to pin killing on him
Question of the Day
Former Rep. Gary A. Condit, the California Democrat whose political career was ruined in the wake of the disappearance of D.C. intern Chandra Levy, testified Monday that investigators in the case tried to railroad him.
“We’re all entitled to some level of privacy,” Mr. Condit testified during the second week of testimony in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, the accused killer in the Levy case. “It seems like in this country we’ve lost a sense of decency. I didn’t commit any crime; I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”
Guandique, an illegal Salvadoran immigrant and a reputed member of the violent street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, is charged with attacking and killing Levy as she jogged through Rock Creek Park.
Prosecutors are building a circumstantial case against Guandique through the accounts of women Guandique attacked in Rock Creek Park about the time of Levy’s disappearance and the testimony of jailhouse informants who say Guandique confessed to the killing.
Guandique’s attorneys, who note that the case lacks physical evidence and eyewitnesses, say their client is a convenient “scapegoat” for prosecutors seeking to salvage a bungled investigation. Much of that bungling is the result of the fixation of investigators with Mr. Condit, who was married and apparently carrying on an affair with the 24-year-old intern.
Prosecutors have acknowledged that investigators became so obsessed with building a case against a sitting congressman that they allowed Guandique to essentially hide in plain sight.
In the summer of 2001, the case became a media sensation in large part because of law enforcement leaks and insinuations that Mr. Condit was responsible for Levy’s disappearance and, possibly, her death. No evidence ever emerged linking Mr. Condit to the crime, and prosecutors now say he was not involved.
Police have said Mr. Condit did not fully cooperate with investigators, a charge he vehemently denied Monday. Mr. Condit said he refused to answer only one question investigators posed: Did he have a sexual relationship with Levy?
“If you can tell me why that’s relevant, I can answer the question,” Mr. Condit recalled telling investigators.
Prosecutor Amanda Haines never asked Mr. Condit whether he and Levy had an affair, but did ask why he never acknowledged an affair. His voice broke slightly, and he said it was “purely based on principle.”
“I have already stated I’m not going to respond to those questions,” Mr. Condit said.
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About the Author
Ben Conery is a member of the investigative team covering the Supreme Court and legal affairs. Prior to coming to The Washington Times in 2008, Mr. Conery covered criminal justice and legal affairs for daily newspapers in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He was a 2006 recipient of the New England Newspaper Association’s Publick Occurrences Award for a series of articles about ...
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