Michael Gardner's wife and twin 10-year-olds all testified in his defense today as the Falls Church community and political activist fights child molestation charges.
Gardner is accused of sexually molesting three of his daughter's friends during two sleepovers in 2011.
Robin Gardner has stood by her husband since his June 22 arrest. The Falls Church city councilwoman and former mayor offered testimony that sometimes contradicted her husband's young accusers.
One child, now 10 years old, says Michael Gardner fondled her for about 45 minutes during a sleepover, as she lay next to his daughter on her bedroom floor. She says Gardner came to the room when his daughter was frightened by a thunderstorm and called out for her father.
But Robin Gardner says she was awake in her bedroom, right across the hall, when her husband went in to comfort the girls. She says both bedroom doors were open and that he returned in about 15 minutes.
The next night during a birthday slumber party in the basement, two girls say Michael Gardner came down several times during the early morning hours and molested them.
But Robin Gardner says he husband had been sick and turned in early that night. Describing herself as a light sleeper, she says she doesn't remember him stirring until the next morning.
Asked defense attorney Peter Greenspun, "From your observation, was there any indication the girls were upset or emotional?"
"No," she replied.
In cross examination, prosecutor Alex Amato suggested that Robin Gardner had tried to protect her husband from the beginning and failed to cooperate with police. She asked about the night a Falls Church police sergeant arrived at the Gardner home to tell them about the charges.
Asked prosecutor Amato, "Didn't you almost fall over?"
"I was upset; I don't faint," Robin Gardner said.
"Did they have to hold you up?" he asked.
"I was shaking due to the news,"she said.
"Isn't it true that as you were speaking to the sergeant, you husband emerged and told you to stop speaking?" he asked.
Gardner said she didn't recall.
The Gardners' twins also testified. Their son was not home during either alleged incident. Their daughter testified that she remembers her father laying beside her in her room during the thunderstorm, not between the two girls as the accuser testified.
She also says she does not remember anyone coming into the basement during the sleepover or waking during the night.
One of the young accusers says she called out to the Gardner's daughter after she was assaulted and recalls her waking briefly.
Defense testimony continues on Monday.