Husband of former Va. mayor denies molestation

WASHINGTON – Michael Gardner, the husband of former Falls Church mayor and city councilwoman Robin Gardner, took the stand Monday in his own defense.

The 48-year-old community activist and lawyer is accused of improperly touching three young girls staying at his home last June. One girl was participating in a sleep-over on June 16; the other two a slumber party the next night for Gardner’s daughter’s 10th birthday.

Gardner denied the molestation charges several times under oath. The defense asked him to describe his medical condition, which includes limited movement in his right hand and shoulder.

Gardner, who has battled cancer, described and showed the limited use of his right arm, which he said he could not lift over his head.

The defense also implied the infection that swelled Gardner’s hand at the time of his daughter’s slumber party made him unable to do what he’s accused of.

In the cross-examination, prosecutors showed a video from a few days ago of Gardner opening a heavy courthouse door for his wife on their way into the building. They also had him move the fingers on his right hand.

All three of the alleged victims, whose names are not being used by the media, testified at the trial that Gardner improperly touched them in their private parts during two separate incidents last June. They are now 10 and 11 years old.

The defense made several attempts to discredit their testimony. But experts testified earlier that DNA found inside one girl’s pajamas and outside the pajamas on another, was a highly probable match to Gardner.

The jury is expected to get the case after closing arguments Tuesday morning.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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