A former Falls Church Democratic Party chairman, charged with molesting two young girls, talked about hiring a hit man to kill them before they could be witnesses at his March 4 trial, according to court documents.
Loudoun County prosecutors said Michael Gardner, who is scheduled to stand trial for allegedly molesting the girls, approached an inmate about finding someone to kill the girls. The inmate reached out to authorities last month.
In a letter, received by authorities last month, the inmate told Gardner that he knew someone who could “help with . . . the ‘3 problems’ you have pre-trial,” according to a motion filed by the prosecution on Thursday, allegedly referring to the two girls and a unspecified third issue. The letter was sent from the inmate in response to “multiple and specific conversations” Gardner allegedly had with the inmate, according to court papers.
Loudoun County prosecutor Nicole Wittmann said she did not know whether Gardner contacted a hit man.
Gardner was convicted in 2012 of molesting two girls, who were 9 and 10 at the time, during a slumber party for his daughter’s 10th birthday.
He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Then his conviction was overturned by the state Supreme Court, which said the trial judge improperly stopped Gardner’s defense attorney from asking character witnesses about Gardner. He was granted a new trial.
Prosecutors from the Loudoun County commonwealth’s attorney’s office are handling the case, because the Arlington County commonwealth’s attorney knows the Gardner family.
In a motion filed Thursday, which was provided to The Washington Post, Loudoun Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Alejandra Rueda, who is prosecuting the case with Wittmann, quoted a letter from the inmate to Gardner.
“I want you to know I haven’t forgotten what we’ve discussed. The friend you asked me to contact to see if he could help with the ‘3 problems’ you have pre-trial will be passing through VA on a FL to NY ‘run,’ ” the letter said, according to the motion. Referring to the alleged hit man, the letter continues: “Get back to me right away because I don’t [want] his visiting you to interfere with Robin and the kids [sic] anticipated visit.”
Robin Gardner, Gardner’s wife, is a former mayor of Falls Church.
When police administered a polygraph test to the inmate, he said Gardner had also considered the two prosecutors and a detective as potential murder victims, the motion said.
A Virginia State Police agent then went undercover to the Arlington jail, where Gardner was being held.
According to a transcript of their conversation included in the motion, the undercover agent referred to a “mutual friend” but never mentioned the murder plot. Gardner immediately said he did not want to meet with the agent.
Gardner then told his attorney, Christopher Leibig, that someone suspicious had come to talk to him.
Leibig declined to comment on Thursday.
Wittmann said that Gardner will not face new charges in light of the inmate’s allegations but that prosecutors do want to introduce the inmate’s testimony as evidence in Gardner’s new trial.