Falls Church Child Molestation Case Goes to Jury

Closing arguments delivered Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    News 4's Julie Carey has the latest in the sex abuse trial of Falls Church community activist Michael Gardner.

    It is Michael Gardner's word against that of three fifth-grade girls. That's part of what jurors now have to weigh as they deliberate.

    The Falls Church political activist, who's the husband of a councilwoman there, is accused of sexually molesting three friends of his daugther during sleepovers at the Gardners' home.

    In closing arguments, prosecutor Nicole Wittman said of the graphic testimony from the now 10- and 11-year-olds: "They came here with absolutely no motive to lie to you... They told you what happened when Michael Gardner touched them."

    But defense attorney Peter Greenspun fired back, reminding jurors that Gardner took the stand to deny every allegation.

    Greenspun pointed some of what he referred to as "67 inconsistencies" in the girls' version of events, saying of police and prosecutors: "They took and accepted what the kids said as gospel, not whether they were wrong or made it up."

    Prosecutors have more than the girls' testimony to make their case. DNA that is 20 quadrillion times more likely to be Michael Gardner's than any other white male was found on one accuser's underwear.

    The defense contends the DNA transferred there when the child spent the night at Gardner's home. "When you are in someone's house," said Greenspun, "you are swimming in their DNA pool."

    Wittman shot back, saying, "The notion that everyone's DNA is somehow floating around is nonsense. It's nonsense because it's not supported by evidence."

    Deliberations ended without a verdict Tuesday evening and are expected to resume 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.