BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland prosecutors are dropping an indecent exposure charge against a man who was held for months in Aruba in the presumed death of his traveling companion.
Gary Giordano was arrested in May after Annapolis police responded to a report of "possible sexual activity" and said they found him naked with a woman in the back of a parked sport utility vehicle. Prosecutors said Friday they would drop an indecent exposure charge against him because they couldn't prove that he intended to expose himself, as the law requires for a conviction. The case was set to go to trial next week, though Giordano's lawyer had asked for it to be dismissed.
"There would have had to have been the element of intent, which was not present in the case," said Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office.
Giordano was arrested in Aruba last August and detained in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner, his traveling companion. Giordano has maintained his innocence and said Gardner was swept out to sea as the two snorkeled days earlier off the southern tip of Aruba. He was jailed there until late November, when a judge ordered him freed and said prosecutors lacked enough evidence to continue holding him.
Giordano returned home to Gaithersburg in suburban Washington after being released, and was charged with indecent exposure in Annapolis months later.
Officers who made the arrest said they found Giordano completely nude in the back of the car, while his companion pulled a sheet up to her neck to cover her left breast, according to a police report. The report says the two were lying together on a single mattress, partially covered by a blanket, in the rear cargo area of the car when police arrived. It says a blanket was hung from inside the car "in what appeared to be an attempt to conceal their activity."
Giordano's lawyer, Steven Kupferberg, said his client was relieved by the prosecutors' decision but should never have been charged in the first place. He said Giordano's public status led the police to handle the charge more "spectacularly" than they otherwise would have.
"I think Gary was charged based on whatever bad publicity he had received as a result of the Aruba case," Kupferberg said. "Nothing more, nothing less."