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Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 11/25/2011

Aruban judge denies request to hold Gary Giordano in Robyn Gardner disappearance, attorney says


Gary Giordano (Courtesy of Public Prosecutor's Office of Aruba)
An Aruban judge denied Friday prosecutors’ request to hold Gary Giordano for 30 more days as authorities investigate the August disappearance of his traveling partner, Robyn Gardner, Giordano’s attorney said.

The Gaithersburg man could be released from an Aruban jail as early on Tuesday, if prosecutors are unsuccessful in appealing the ruling.

Giordano was arrested on Aug. 5, three days after he told authorities the Frederick County woman disappeared while snorkeling off the coast of Aruba. Her body has not been found.

Authorities doubted Giordano’s story partly because he was in a position to collect a $1.5 million travel insurance policy on Gardner. In the past, Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein has called Giordano a “suspect in a suspicious death.”

But lawyers for Giordano have argued there is no evidence linking him to a crime.

“This is completely justified,” Chris Lejuez, Giordano’s attorney, said of the judge’s ruling. “All the investigation has turned up is either nothing or facts that are not relevant to the case. [Giordano] has been proclaiming his innocence from the beginning.”


Robyn Gardner (Associated Press)

Stein said Giordano remains the focus on the investigation and that authorities have appealed the judge’s decision.

“We know for a fact that he is not telling the truth,” Stein said. “We are determined to go on with this investigation, not only for ourselves and for justice, but for the relatives of Robyn Gardner.”

If Giordano is released, Stein said Aruban authorities could still decide to file charges and request that he be extradicted back to the island to face trial.

Stein said the investigation remains active. Earlier this week, he said, Dutch divers combed the shoreline near where Gardner disappeared in a search for her body. And law enforcement officials are still combing through Giordano’s computer and the e-mails he sent in the days before Gardner went missing.

Lejeuz said Giordano was caught off guard by the judge’s ruling, which occurred on Friday morning. Giordano was in court at the time.

“He didn't expect this to happen,” Lejuez said. “They have been extending his detention, so he expected another extension. He needed  a moment for himself. It was very emotional.”

By  |  12:51 PM ET, 11/25/2011

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