WASHINGTON — Previously confidential transcripts of hearings related to the case of murdered Washington intern Chandra Levy were made public Monday, and more court documents will be made public by the week's end, largely ending a dispute about secrecy in the case.
The newly released transcripts made public after a hearing Monday cover five hearings held earlier this year. Though they are in part redacted, they provide some new details about post-trial proceedings, but because more recent hearings including Monday's have been largely open, the majority of what they contain was already known. Lawyers have held a number of meetings in the case in recent months, but the public and press have not always been able to listen to all of them.
News organizations including The Associated Press, had objected to the secrecy, but the judge overseeing the case said it was necessary for safety concerns. Transcripts released Monday confirm those concerns had to do with the safety of a key witness who helped convict Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique of Levy's death, and the witness' family.
Lawyers have been discussing information that could discredit the witness, Guandique's one-time cellmate, Armando Morales.
Morales testified during Guandique's 2010 trial that Guandique had confided that he was responsible for Levy's death.
Defense attorneys have said they intend to request a new trial based on information that calls Morales' testimony into question. Defense attorneys said Monday they would likely file that request with D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher within 45 days of the next hearing in the case, which is set for Sept. 26.
Levy's 2001 disappearance became international news after she was romantically linked with then-U.S. Rep. Gary Condit of California. He was questioned about her disappearance, but police no longer believe he was involved. The 24-year-old Levy's body was found in Washington's Rock Creek Park in 2002, and Guandique, who had previously been convicted of attacking women in the park, was ultimately charged.
The first of the documents made public late Monday cover hearings in January, February and April and total about 300 pages. The information they contain, however, largely came out during a public portion at the end of the April hearing, in a more open hearing in May and again Monday. In addition, one hearing on Feb. 6 was almost all open to the public.
Lawyers and the judge on Monday continued to discuss openly the information that could discredit Morales. A lawyer for Guandique, Jonathan Anderson, repeated Monday that there were numerous contradictions in Morales' testimony. Anderson said, for example, that Morales testified he'd never come forward to law enforcement before approaching officials about Guandique's case.
A trial transcript shows that when Morales was asked at trial how he went about coming forward, he responded he was "nervous" about it and "didn't know how to do it."
What defense attorneys were apparently not told until recently, however, was that Morales told prosecutors that he had previously talked with law enforcement officials. In 1998, for example, Morales discussed three murders with law enforcement officials. He also discussed drug and weapons dealing that was going on inside a Georgia prison where he was then incarcerated.
In a hearing transcript released Monday, Judge Fisher suggests Morales wasn't directly untruthful on the stand. He says Morales was never directly asked if he provided information to law enforcement before, if he'd ever cooperated or offered to cooperate. But the judge says there was a suggestion that it was the first time he had cooperated and given information.
The transcripts also contain information that Guandique was brought to court in shackles with a so-called "black box" to prevent him from picking the lock. Security was tight because of what the judge said were "numerous instances of violence" by Guandique in prison. In addition, at one point, one of Guandique's attorneys also says that he was physically abused by marshals bringing him to court, his head hit against a wall.
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Chandra Levy Murder
Chandra Ann Levy, a government intern, went missing in Washington, D.C. in May, 2001. The 24-year-old University of Southern California student had been interning with the Bureau of Prisons for seven months before she disappeared.
Chandra Levy Murder - The Parents
Levy's parents, Robert, right, and Susan, announced their campaign to upgrade their daughter's status beyond that of a missing person June 21, 2001 at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC.
Chandra Levy Murder
Washington, DC. police distributed these images of Levy on July 13, 2001 showing what she could look like with different hair styles.
Chandra Levy Murder - The Affair
US Congressman Gary Condit, D-CA, was under intense scrutiny in the Levy case, after Levy's father, Robert Levy, told police <a href="http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/26/chandra-levys-father-testifies-about-her-affair-with-condit/">he believed his daughter had been having an affair with the congressman</a>. The congressman said he had not heard from Levy in over a week, when police questioned him on May 8, 2001. His apartment was searched on July 9, 2001, where <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/ch8_1.html">his affair with Levy was confirmed</a>.
Chandra Levy Murder - The Search
Police searched Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. for Levy on July 16, 2001. Investigators saw in <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=DQBJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2IIMAAAAIBAJ&dq=chandra%20levy%20laptop&pg=3598%2C66681">Levy's laptop history</a> that, on the day she disappeared, she'd looked up a "map site" for the Klingle Mansion in Rock Creek Park, The Vindicator reported.
Chandra Levy Murder - 1 Year Later
Kristinn Taylor attends a candlelight vigil marking the one-year anniversary of Levy's disappearance outside Levy's apartment building May 1, 2002 in Washington, DC.
Chandra Levy Murder - Remains Found
Levy's remains were not found until May 2002. <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2002-05-22/us/levy.body_1_chandra-levy-heartfelt-sorrow-and-condolences-levy-family?_s=PM:US">She was identified through dental records</a>, CNN reported.
Chandra Levy Murder - Memorial
In this photo a family friend of the Levy's wipes her eyes before a memorial on May 28, 2002 in Modesto, California.
Chandra Levy Murder - Suspect Named
Ingmar Guandique became a suspect in the Levy case after being arrested for allegedly attacking two women, Halle Shilling and Christy Wiegand, on May 14, 2001 and July 1, 2001, respectively, in the same park where Levy's body was found. On July 2, after being shown a photograph of Levy, Guandique told police he'd seen her in the park but did not attack her.
Chandra Levy Murder - Ingmar Guandique
On August 26, 2001, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/specials/chandra/ch10_printer.html">a jailhouse informant told police that Guandique confessed to killing Levy</a>. On May 19, 2009, Guandique was <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/pdf/GuandiqueArrestWarrant.pdf">indicted for first-degree murder</a>.
Chandra Levy Murder - The Trial
Nine years after her murder in Washington, DC, jury selection began in the case. The trial began on October 18, 2010.
Chandra Levy Murder - The Verdict
The <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/chandra-levy/levy-death-trial-jury-delibera.html">jury began deliberations</a> on November 15, 2010. Guandique was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder on Nov. 22.
Chandra Levy Murder - The Sentence
On February 11, 2011, a D.C. Superior Court judge sentenced Guandique to 60 years in prison.