With Chandra Levy's Murderer Convicted, What About Gary Condit?

Former congressman subject to wild rumors after the intern he dated disappeared

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Ingmar Guandique was found guilty of murdering Chandra Levy, the Washington intern whose likely affair with then-Rep. Gary Condit led police to suspect he was her killer. Levy was killed while she was jogging in the park in May 2001, and her body wasn't found for a year.

Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvadore, spent time in prison for attacking two other women while they were running. But his lawyers complained that prosecutors didn't have any direct evidence--just his criminal record and the testimony of his prison cellmate, the Associated Press's Matthew Barakat reports. Guandique will be sentenced in February and could get 30 years to life in prison.

  • Conviction Depended on a Career Criminal's Testimony, NBC 4 reports. "Prosecutors asked the jury to rely on the testimony of career criminal Armando Morales, a former cellmate of Guandique, who testified that the defendant admitted killing Levy while serving a 10-year sentence [for attacking two joggers]. Morales testified that Guandique told him he intended to steal from Levy, not kill her. Guandique was concerned other inmates would think he was a rapist because he was linked to the Levy investigation, Morales said."
  • Credit Goes Entirely to the Prosecutors, TDB's Sarah Larimer argues. They had "no evidence and no eyewitnesses," but prosecutors Amanda Haines and Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez were able to convince the jury of Guandique's guilt. The high point was Haines's closing argument, Larimer writes. "She spoke of three women, whose attacks were too similar to not be related. Two survived, one would not. Haines took the jury through what Levy’s final days and hours could have been like. She hung up stained running clothes recovered at the Levy crime scene, like the courtroom was a closet. Her words were emotional and powerful, and the story suddenly seemed a bit less hazy. After nearly two weeks of scattered testimony, Haines connected the dots."
  • What About Condit's Reputation? Doug Mataconis wonders at Outside the Beltway. On 9/11, the Levy case was wiped from the headlines. But for Condit, "the damages was done. He lost a primary the following spring and left Congress in 2003. Considering the fact that the most he did was have an affair with an intern, one wonders if he’s asking the same question that former Labor Secretary Ray Donovan did after he was acquitted in a racketeering trial in 1987:' Which office do I go to get my reputation back?'"
  • Sorry About That, Gary, Patterico's Aaron Worthing writes. "And this seems at good at time as any to say that if Gary Condit is listening, I honestly believed you had a high probability of being involved in her murder. And for that I sincerely apologize. I don’t apologize for thinking you were sleeping with her, given that it is apparently true. But I do apologize for thinking you were likely to be involved in her murder."
  • The Press Is Still Ignoring the Immigration Angle, Michelle Malkin fumes. "MSM outlets wasted no time whitewashing the illegal immigration angle from the story," Malkin says, noting she was on that beat back in 2002. Back then, Malkin wrote, "The Associated Press described Guandique merely as an 'immigrant;' the New York Times called him a 'Washington man.' On the basic questions of where Guandique came from, how he got here, and how he managed to stay, the Washington Post-the mainstream media giant closest to the scene of Guandique’s crimes- has printed nothing at all."
  • Let's Not Forget How Insane the Press Was, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro writes at The Washington Times. "There wasn't a single piece of evidence linking Mr. Condit to Levy's death," but the media indulged in wild speculation anyway. "In 2001, Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne said he had found a well-respected source in the Middle East who had personal knowledge that Levy had been sold into sex slavery there, and in 2002, a prominent criminal defense attorney said he had found 'proof' that Mr. Condit had had Levy murdered and disposed of her corpse in Baltimore Harbor."
  • A 9/10 State of Mind, CBS News' Stephanie Condon reports. CBS correspondent Dan Raviv, who covered the case, told Condon that "The summer of 2001 was in a simpler time, pre-9/11, when the worst crime we could imagine here in our nation's Capital was the murder of a former government intern," CBS Radio News national correspondent Dan Raviv says. But everything changed after 9/11, Condon writes. "Quite justifiably, we in the national media instantly lost interest" in the Levy case, Raviv says.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.