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Defendant's Wife Takes Stand in Child Molestation Trial | News

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Defendant's Wife Takes Stand in Child Molestation Trial
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ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA) - Michael Gardner's wife, Falls Church City Council woman Robin Gardner, and the couple's twin ten year olds testified in his defense today in the child molestation trial. 

Three of their daughter's friends who were at a slumber party and sleepover last June accuse Michael Gardner of touching their genitals while they lay in their sleeping bags or beds.

Prosecutor Alex Amato asked about the first night a Falls Church Sergeant came to their home to tell the Gardners about the accusations. 

 "Isn't it true that while you were speaking to Sgt. Lancaster that your husband came out and told you to stop speaking to him?" asked Amato.  

Defense Attorney Peter Greenspun objected to the question, but Judge Benjamin Kendrick allowed it. Robin Gardner said she didn't remember.

Robin Gardner was asked about the night of the sleepover on June 16.  Their daughter had called her father into her room to comfort her while a thunderstorm boomed.  The friend testified that Gardner assaulted her while laying on the floor between the girls.   Mrs. Gardner says she was awake during the storm in their bedroom right across the hall.  She says she came over at one point and noticed her husband leaning on one arm next to their daughter, not between them.  She says he came back in about 15 minutes.

Greenspun is also trying to  establish that it was just too dark in the basement of the Gardner home the night of the slumber party for any of the girls to have seen Mr. Gardner.

Two girls at the slumber party say Gardner came down in the middle of the night and fondled them on their vaginas.  One says he penetrated her vagina with his finger.

Robin Gardner said on the stand that she got up around 1:00 am the night of the slumber party to check on the girls  and found them asleep.  

 "It was pitch black downstairs."
"I came back upstairs and Mike was asleep and I got into bed," said Robin Gardner.  

Greenspun is also trying to incriminate the Falls Church Police Department's investigation and evidence gathering in the case. He asked lead detective Sonya Richardson why they didn't get a search warrent for the Gardner's home until three weeks after the Friday night slumber party.

"Why didn't you get a search warrent on Sunday?" asked Greenspun. 

Detective Sonya Richardson replied, "Because of the nature of the case."  She called it "high profile" and said she was told when she called the Arlington County prosecutor that there could possibly be a conflict of interest.

"I was asked to hold up," Richardson said.  

Strong DNA evidence pointing to Gardner was found on one of the alleged victim's underpants and another's pajama pants. But an important item, the sleeping bag was not sent to be tested. "Why?" Greenspun asked.

Detective Richardson replied, "If I had my way I would have sent everything."   She said she only has a department of six people. 

Greenspun also asked,  "Did you do anything to determine the level of darkness in the room?"

"I did not," said Richardson. 

The defense will continue its case on Monday.  The Jury could receive the case Monday at the earliest.

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