Is a Clinton-appointed judge helping the government cover up scandalous information involving the murder of a federal intern who was romantically involved with a married Democratic congressman?
It’s a question worth asking considering the secrecy surrounding the high-profile murder case of Chandra Levy, a 24-year-old intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C., who mysteriously vanished in 2001. Levy’s remains were found a year later in a Washington D.C. park and her boyfriend, California Congressman Gary Condit, was a key suspect. The scandal cost him reelection a year later but he was never charged.
For nearly a decade the case remained Washington’s most famous unsolved crime, according to local sources. The Washington Post even published a special series that reads like a fiction novel with a dozen chapters and lots of photos. The series reveals that police and prosecutors immediately suspected Condit, 52 at the time, was responsible. He eventually fessed up about the affair, but denied involvement in the murder and for more than seven years the investigation went cold.
Suddenly, in 2010 an illegal immigrant gangbanger (Ingmar Guandique) from El Salvador got convicted for murdering Levy and was sentenced to three decades in jail. The government’s star witness was Guandique’s former cellmate, who told a jury that Guandique admitted killing Levy. Guandique’s attorneys have requested a new trial based on evidence involving one of the government’s key witnesses.
Prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) have requested—without explanation—that details of the new information and the witness remain under seal though various media outlets are legally challenging it. The presiding DC Superior Court judge, Gerald Fisher, has granted all of the government’s unusual secrecy requests and this week private hearings are being held without any media or public scrutiny. This sets a dangerous precedent for what’s supposed to be a transparent judicial system in the U.S.
Judge Fisher has so far refused to offer a valid explanation for granting all of the government’s wishes, instead ordering the proceedings closed because of unspecified “safety concerns.” A national newswire describes the case like this: “Closed hearings, disappearing documents, sealed transcripts, the mystery only deepens in the Chandra Levy murder case, which dates back more than a decade.”
A mainstream newspaper that reports the deepening secrecy that continues to shroud the high-profile murder case offered a different quote from the judge but, still, no reasonable explanation for his ruling. “I do find that closure is essential,” Judge Fisher said following a brief hearing this week. “I take no satisfaction doing this. I don’t particularly enjoy sealing proceedings.”