US & Canada

Intern Chandra Levy murder case begins

Chandra Levy
Image caption The disappearance of Chandra Levy generated headlines around the world

Jury selection has started in the trial of a man accused of the murder of congressional intern Chandra Levy in Washington DC in 2001.

Ms Levy's disappearance generated huge media coverage in the US.

Ingmar Guandique is charged with murder, kidnapping and other offences, having allegedly attacked Ms Levy while she jogged alone in Rock Creek Park.

Interest at the time she vanished was fuelled by claims Congressman Gary Condit was having an affair with her.

Mr Condit said he and Ms Levy, 24, were friends and initially denied an affair, but the scandal helped end his political career after he was defeated in a primary in California.

Image caption Ingmar Guandique is accused of attacking Ms Levy in a park

Police said Mr Condit was not a suspect. He expects to be called as a witness at the trial, his spokesman said.

Prospective jurors are filling out 11-page questionnaires, establishing how much they already know about the case among other factors like suitability to serve in what could be a six-week trial. The answers to the questionnaire are not revealed.

The jury selection process could take all week, with the opening statements in the trial beginning next Monday.

Mr Guandique, from El Salvador, has served a 10-year prison sentence for other attacks in the same area where the body of Ms Levy was found, more than a year after she went missing.

He wore a beige blazer and a cream-coloured turtleneck sweater in court. Speaking to the jurors in Spanish, he introduced himself with the phrase "buenos dias".