By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prosecutors dropped their case against a man granted a retrial on charges that he killed Washington intern Chandra Levy in 2001, a death that contributed to a congressman’s downfall, authorities said on Thursday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. capital asked a judge to dismiss charges against Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant who was found guilty in 2010 of first-degree murder and other charges.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office “has concluded that it can no longer prove the murder case against Mr. Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt,” it said in an emailed statement.
The motion made to District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Morin was based on information that prosecutors received within the last week, the statement said. The information was not disclosed.
Guandique is serving a 60-year prison sentence. His bid for a retrial was granted last year after his lawyers argued that a key witness had lied.
The death of Levy, 24, and its subsequent investigation riveted Washington, starting with her disappearance in May 2001.
A wide-ranging search turned up few details on her whereabouts but brought out allegations that she had an affair with Gary Condit, then a member of the House of Representatives.
The married Condit, a Democrat representing California, acknowledged having a “close relationship” with Levy but said he had nothing to do with her disappearance or death.
Despite his never being named a suspect, media coverage of the investigation contributed to Condit’s re-election loss in 2002.
Levy’s remains were found in Washington’s Rock Creek Park in 2002. In 2009 police charged Guandique, who was already imprisoned for attacking women in the same area Levy went missing.
Guandique faces potential deportation once he is released from prison, the prosecutors’ statement said.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Dan Grebler)