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Defendant Takes Stand In Child Molestation Trial | News

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Defendant Takes Stand In Child Molestation Trial

ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA) -- On Monday, Michael Gardner took the stand in his own defense. Gardner is accused of molesting three of his daughter's friends during a sleepover and a slumber party last June. He allegedly touched their genitals while they lay in sleeping bags or beds.  One girl alleges he inserted his finger in her vagina. 

The prosecution played the attached 9 News video in court Monday to counter defense allegations that Gardner was not physically able to commit the acts he's charged with because of limited motion in his right arm due to cancer and radiation treatment. But you could see him opening the rather heavy courthouse door for his wife last week.

Commonwealth's Attorney Nicole Wittman asked Gardner if he would point his index finger and wiggle his fingers.  He could and showed the jury. 

Concerning the sleepover on June 16, he said he came into his daughter's room at her request because of a loud thunderstorm. He said, quote "We were not secluded in a separate part. The doors were open. Robin came in and looked around. We had a conversation."

He said he played a super hero-lightning game with the girls and that he did touch his daughter's friend briefly.

Gardner said, "I reached over and touched [her] on her midriff with my left hand."

Peter Greenspun, Gardner's attorney: "Did you ever touch [her] vagina?"

Gardner: "Absolutely not."

The next night was the slumber party where two girls say he fondled their genitals. Gardner said he went downstairs where the girls were sleeping to lock the doors.

Gardner said, "It was quiet and dark. I didn't see anybody. I went back upstairs and I went back to bed."

Greenspun: "Did you touch these children in a sexual manner?"

Gardner: "No."

The DNA evidence did not come up during the defense's case.  Last week, the prosecution's DNA expert said DNA found on the crotch of one of the girl's underpants had a high probability of matching to Gardner, a 1 in 20.7 quadrillion probability.  DNA experts have told WUSA that some labs just call that a 'match' since there are only 7 billion people on Earth. 

Defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro said he thought that they had turned that DNA expert into a defense witness, implying that he didn't think the information helped the prosecution.  

Tuesday, May 1, both sides will give closing arguments and then the case goes to the jury.    No telling how long it will take.

Follow Peggy Fox for more updates via Twitter: @PeggyTV


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