Gary Condit testifies at intern murder trial

A former US congressman gave evidence yesterday over the killing of a Washington intern in a case that helped derail his political career after he was investigated as a suspect.

Gary Condit, who represented California, gave evidence in the trial of Ingmar Guandique, 29, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador, who is charged with the murder and attempted sexual assault of Chandra Levy nearly a decade ago.

The intern's disappearance – her body was not discovered until more than a year after she went missing – caused a sensation when she was romantically linked to Mr Condit. Authorities once considered him a prime suspect, but no longer believe he had anything to do with her death.

Prosecutors acknowledged in their opening statement that police failed in their initial investigation by focusing on Mr Condit to the exclusion of anyone else.

Prosecutor Amanda Haines asked Mr Condit directly if he killed Levy. He answered "no". He also replied "no" to the question of whether he had anything to do with her disappearance. Mr Condit was asked why he never publicly acknowledged an affair with Levy. He said it was "purely based on principle".

"I think we're all entitled to some level of privacy... Seems like in this country we've lost a sense of decency. I didn't commit any crime, I don't think I've done anything wrong."