Lawyers for the man found guilty of killing congressional intern Chandra Levy formally today asked for a new trial.
The request came after nearly a year of tangling with the U.S. Attorney's Office over access to information regarding a key government trial witness whose testimony is now under scrutiny. A decision on the motion is a long way off—both sides will have several months to file court papers before arguing their case before the judge.
A District of Columbia Superior Court jury in 2010 convicted Ingmar Guandique in Levy's death. The case was reopened in late 2012 after the government notified the judge of potentially impeaching information related to Guandique's former cellmate Armando Morales. Morales testified Guandique confessed to the murder.
Guandique's lawyers at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia say the new information contradicts Morales' statements at trial that he had never come forward to law enforcement before. They've argued the information about Morales should have been turned over to defense lawyers before the trial. Prosecutors have downplayed the significance of the information about Morales.
Over the past year defense lawyers have pressed the government to provide information and records about Morales' past contacts with law enforcement, especially with federal prosecutors and other federal agencies. Today, Guandique's lawyers and the government continued to fight over what information the government should have to disclose.
Once the discovery disputes are sorted out, likely in early 2014, the lawyers will start filing briefs on the motion for a new trial. Another hearing is scheduled for Jan. 6.