CRIME

Michael Gardner trial: Jury reaches verdict

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Jurors reached a verdict Wednesday in the trial of former chairman of the Falls Church Democratic Committee for allegedly sexually abusing girls.

Gardner is the former chairman of the Falls Church Democratic Committee. (Photo: ABC7)

The jury's verdict will be announced once it is available.

Michael Gardner, 48, is accused of aggravated sexual battery and object sexual penetration after alleged assaults on young girls, ages 9 and 10 on June 18 at his daughter's birthday slumber party in the basement of their Falls Church home.

Gardner’s wife serves as a Falls Church councilwoman and is a former mayor of Falls Church.

In closing arguments prosecutors hammered away at DNA stains from Gardner. They turned up on the two little girl's underwear and pajama bottoms. The lead prosecutor asked the jury how could it have gotten there.

Three little girls, friends of Gardner's daughter, told investigators Gardner inappropriately touched them when they spent the night at the Gardner home last June.

But the defense told the jury the girls had been talking and raised the possibility they made up the story. The defense focused on dozens of inconsistencies in the girls' testimony. The attorney also called on the jury to use common sense, citing one little girl saying Gardner molested her for 45 minutes while his daughter slept just inches away.

The defense also cited the lack of any prior evidence to indicate Gardner harbored any sexual desire for children, evidence which is often found in the homes or on the computers of pedophiles.

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