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Chandra Levy Murder Case Proceeds, Despite Cops' "Illegal" Tactics, Say Defense Lawyers

Chandra Levy and her alleged killer Ingmar Guandique
CBS/AP
Chandra Levy and her alleged killer Ingmar Guandique
Chandra Levy and her alleged killer Ingmar Guandique (CBS/AP)

WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) Despite what defense attorneys called "illegal" and "unethical" actions by investigators, a judge decided to proceed with a slimmed-down case against the man accused of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy.

PICTURES: Chandra Levy Murdered

D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher declared Thursday that although defense lawyers' tactics were questionable, there was not grounds to drop the case against illegal Salvadoran immigrant Ingmar Guandique.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday.

Guandique's defense attorneys sought to end the case after learning last week that detectives had posed as a penpal under the alias "Maria Lopez" to trick to trick Guandique into writing letters implicating himself in Levy's May 2001 death.

Although Guandique, who was serving time in federal prison on unrelated charges, never responded, his attorneys argued that detectives acted improperly in contacting Guandique without his lawyers' knowledge.

"This goes to the antics, the shenanigans, the lengths to which they've gone to prosecute Mr. Guandique," attorney Santha Sonenberg said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez bristled at the suggested impropriety, saying "she may not like it, but that doesn't mean it's improper or unethical."

Prosecutors revealed at Thursday's hearing that they will be dropping three charges against Guandique in "an effort to streamline" the case.

Guandique is accused of killing Levy on May 1, 2001, during an attempted sexual assault in Washington's Rock Creek Park.

Levy's disappearance garnered national attention when she was romantically linked to then-Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.  Condit was initially suspected by police, and the resulting scandal cost him his re-election bid.