RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Supreme Court has tossed out the convictions of a former Democratic Party official who was accused of molesting three children.
Michael Armin Gardner was convicted of molesting two girls who attended a slumber party for his daughter's 10th birthday. An Arlington County Circuit Court jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge related to the third child. The 50-year-old former chairman of the Democratic committee in Falls Church was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
In a 6-1 ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court said the trial judge improperly barred two character witnesses from testifying about whether Gardner had a reputation as a good caretaker of children. Their testimony was limited to Gardner's general reputation for honesty and peacefulness.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.