WASHINGTON -- The man accused of killing former Modestan Chandra Levy in 2001 is a prolific letter-writer whose words could come back to haunt him.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are fighting over what are said to be "thousands of pages" of correspondence attributed to accused killer Ingmar Guandique. The sheer volume provides hints about his life, and the letters themselves may help determine his fate.
"As a result of these recent additional disclosures, there are approximately 18,000 pages of discovery in this case," Guandique's attorneys Santha Sonenberg and Maria Hawilo noted in a recent legal filing.
Discovery is a fact-finding process that takes place before trial. One perennial source of conflict occurs when defense attorneys ask prosecutors to turn over evidence collected by law enforcement.
In two months, legal filings show, prosecutors gave defense attorneys at least 70 letters written by Guandique. Some appear to be lengthy; most had some portions edited out before they were given to the defense.
Also, law enforcement officers reported collecting correspondence between Guandique and a woman identified only as "Rosalinda." At least one letter included a drawing by Guandique, who turns 29 this year. Prosecutors haven't provided complete copies to Guandique's defense team.
"The government should not be permitted to be the architect of Mr. Guandique's defense by withholding entire pages of discovery," Sonenberg and Hawilo argued in their July 21 legal filing.
The two defense attorneys further complain that prosecutors "(have) not identified which of the thousands of pages of writings purported to come from Mr. Guandique it seeks to introduce at trial nor from where the various documents were obtained."
Legal filings itemize the documents but have not made the content public.
Prosecutors, in turn, have underscored in court hearings how much information they have given the defense.
Some of these conflicts between the defense and the two prosecutors, assistant U.S. attorneys Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez and Amanda Haines may be sorted out at a pretrial hearing Aug. 20.
Guandique is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 4. Prosecutors say he attacked Levy and attempted to sexually assault her in Washington's Rock Creek Park. Prosecutors also charge Guandique with threatening potential witnesses.
Raised in Modesto, where her parents still live, Levy had recently finished her graduate studies and a Bureau of Prisons internship when she disappeared May 1, 2001. Her skeletal remains were found a year later.
Levy's disappearance attained national notoriety after revelations that she had been having an affair with her hometown congressman, Gary Condit. Although he left Washington, D.C., after his re-election defeat in 2002, Condit's name has been dragged into the discovery conflict.
"We have not seen any items recovered from Rock Creek Park (or) items recovered from Gary Condit's apartment," defense attorneys complained in a July 29 letter, which cited other items they are still waiting to see.
A lot of other Guandique material, though, has been conveyed to the defense team. For instance, prosecutors provided correspondence with the consular general of El Salvador as well as documents from Living Cross Ministries and the Crossroad Bible Institute, the latter of which serves prison inmates.