Chandra Levy hearings to remain closed

(AP/ABC7) - A judge has ruled that hearings in the 2001 Chandra Levy murder case will continue to be closed to the public and the news media.

The hearings have been held behind closed doors over the last several weeks and could signal a problem with the prosecution. Ingmar Guandique, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, was convicted of Levy's murder in 2010 and is serving a 60-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors have cited undisclosed "safety issues" in arguing that the hearings should be sealed. Judge Gerald Fisher ruled Thursday that the media would not suffer "irrevocable harm" because details from the hearings will ultimately be made public.

Guandique was convicted in the murder of Levy, a Washington intern, based on circumstantial evidence.

A fellow inmate's testimony proved crucial to the conviction. But now prosecutors presented evidence about a witness which could put the conviction in doubt.

But the judge again refused to release this information out of safety concerns.

“There is virtually nothing on the public record other than that there is some safety concern that this relates to the testimony of a government witness,” says Patrick Carome, an attorney for the media.