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Charles Montaldo

Defense Wants New Trial in Chandra Levy Case

By February 19, 2013

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Attorneys for the man convicted of killing Chandra Levy plan to ask for a new trial after a problem surfaced with one of the witnesses in the original murder trial. Lawyers for Ingmar Guandique claimed in court papers unsealed today that his prosecution was "predicated on a lie."

The unsealed documents originated from closed hearings held in connection with the case during the past three months.

The court papers reveal that the prosecution asked that the hearings be closed to protect the personal safety of a witness in the case, although they were not specific about what threats the witness might face.

A Problem With a Witness

Media outlets had challenged the close hearings, which took place Dec. 18, Jan. 4 and again today, but Judge Gerald Fisher ruled the hearings would remain closed.

The documents unsealed today were the first indication as to what took place in those hearings. The prosecution apparently asked for the hearings to discuss a problem that arose with a key witness that they said they learned about after Guandique was sentenced.

The heavily redacted documents do not reveal the name of the witness nor the nature of the problem.

'Predicated on a Lie'

Court observers speculated that the problem might involve a jailhouse snitch who was a key witness during the trial. The snitch testified that Guandique, who was in prison for similar crimes in California, confessed to the Washington DC murder of intern Chandra Levy.

"Mr. Guandique and the public have a right to know precisely what happened at Mr. Guandique's trial and why the government allowed its prosecution to be predicated on a lie," Guandique's attorneys wrote in their motion.

Guandique, an immigrant from El Salvador, was sentenced to 60 years in February 2011 after a jury found him guilty in November 2010.

See Also:
Defense to Seek New Trial in Chandra Levy Case

Background:
The Murder of Chandra Levy
Profile of Chandra Levy

What Is Your Opinion?
Discuss The Chandra Levy Case

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