Pat Collins, Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy
In D.C. Superior Court Monday, former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit refused to answer whether he had a sexual relationship with slain Washington intern Chandra Levy, NBC Washington's Pat Collins reported.
Condit took the stand Monday in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, who is charged with murder and attempted sexual assault in the death of Levy, who disappeared in May 2001 and whose remains were found in Rock Creek Park more than a year later.
Her disappearance caused controversy for Condit when they were romantically linked.
The former congressman from California testified Monday that he's never spoken publicly about their relationship because he believes everyone is entitled to privacy, Collins reported. He insisted he did nothing wrong and did not commit a crime.
"Did you have anything to do with Chandra's disappearance?" the prosecutor asked.
"No, ma'am," Condit said.
"Did you kill her?" she asked.
"No, ma'am," Condit answered.
Asked by the defense if he had a sexual relationship with Levy, Condit replied that he won't respond to such questions out of respect for his privacy as well as hers, Collins reported.
Condit testified he thought police were prying into his personal life when they first interviewed him about Levy's disappearance. He realized they considered him a suspect when a detective asked him if he had a sexual relationship with Levy, the Associated Press reported. Condit said he responded, "If you can tell me why that's relevant, I can answer the question." The detective didn't respond, and the interview ended.
Levy's father testified last week that his family believed Condit was the primary suspect when she disappeared in May 2001, and that's what they told police. For a time, police investigated Condit as the main suspect but no longer believe he was involved. Nor does Levy's family.
Guandique, a native of El Salvador, was previously convicted in the assaults of two other women in Rock Creek Park.
Prosecutors have said the Levy investigation was botched when police mistakenly focused on Condit.
Defense attorneys said the evidence against Guandique is practically nonexistent, as the government missed and misplaced evidence. The government is trying to make Guandique a scapegoat for their mistakes, the defense said.
Condit's daughter was also at D.C. Superior Court Monday, Collins reported.
The prosecution is expected to call on gang members and former prison inmates this week to testisfy that defendant Ingmar Guandique admitted to them he killed Levy, WAMU reported. Because there are no eyewitnesses or physical evidence in the case, the testimony of Guandique's former cellmates could be important.
But in opening statements last week, the defense argued the jury should question why these men are coming forward -- calling them "unreliable" "jail house informants," WAMU reported.
Stay with NBC Washington for updates as they become available.