Claims Coverage Was ‘Inaccurate,’ Wants Retraction
In a statement released to the media today, Peter D. Greenspun, attorney for Falls Church City resident Michael Gardner charges that a DNA report filed with the Clerk of the Arlington Circuit Court shows that Gardner “is eliminated as a contributor” of sperm that was detected on clothing of one of the three underage females he is charged with molesting.
The statement charges a report carried on WUSA-TV Tuesday, and repeated by other media outlets, claiming that sperm detected in the study belonged to Gardner, was inaccurate, and Greenspun has demanded a retraction.
The explosive development is the latest twist in the case, which broke last June. Gardner was arrested June 22 and indicted by an Arlington Circuit Court grand jury on July 18 on two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of object penetration.
The girls, two aged 10 and one aged 9, were participants in two sleepovers in the home of Gardner and his wife, Falls Church City Council member Robin, with the Gardners’ daughter. Originally scheduled to begin Oct. 3, the trial was postponed until January at the request of the prosecution to allow for completion of the DNA tests.
Greenspun’s statement yesterday reads, “Due to false press reports, it is necessary to clarify information regarding a DNA lab report filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Arlington County. Under Virginia law, there is a requirement that certain lab reports be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court before trial, including DNA findings. In Mr. Gardner’s case, the press has obtained information from a DNA report, and has inaccurately reported that Mr. Gardner was the source of sperm found in the crotch area and pant leg of the pajama pants of one of the children involved in the case. In fact, the DNA report says no such thing, and actually states the opposite, that Mr. Gardner is eliminated as a contributor of the sperm.”
It continues, “Therefore, false press reports have led to the conclusion that there is overwhelming evidence that Michael Gardner is guilty. The only fact found by the DNA report is that there was an unknown contributor of sperm to the pajama pants of a child who is a complainant in this case. We do not know who that sperm is identified with, except that it is not identified with Mr. Gardner.”
It concludes, “Beyond that, the DNA report filed with the Clerk indicates only what we already knew: that Mr. Gardner’s DNA was throughout his house, allowing routine cell transfers to occur. The far more important finding is of SNA and sperm not belonging to Mr. Gardner on the pajama pants of a child, raising significant questions about the rush to judge and charge Mr. Gardner before the investigation was complete.”
In a letter attached to the statement, Greenspun called on all media outlets who reported false information about the DNA report to retract their reports with “prominent and immediate corrections.” It reiterated, “The sperm referred to by WUSA 9 News was not that of Michael Gardner, and is from an unknown contributor.”
One local Falls Church website that posted the substance of the WUSA-TV report Tuesday night posted the Greenspun statement within minutes of its issuance yesterday afternoon.
The WUSA-TV report said that lab tests of the clothing of one of the girls had found a DNA profile foreign to the girl, and that Gardner “cannot be eliminated as the person who left that DNA.” It said that the odds of the sperm being from anyone else are one in 20.7 quadrillion.
In the case of the clothing of a second girl, the results also “did not eliminate” Gardner as the source of the sperm, according to the report, with the odds of it being from anyone else being one in 3,860.
The WUSA-TV reporter attributed her information to “Arlington Circuit Court officials,” without seeing a copy of the actual report.