- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An appeals hearing will be held before a panel of three judges Wednesday morning in the case of a Gaithersburg man suspected in the August disappearance of a travel companion on Aruba, according to prosecutors.

An attorney representing Gary Giordano, 50, has filed an appeal against a judge’s Aug. 31 ruling that ordered him detained an additional 60 days as prosecutors continue to develop a case against him. At the Wednesday hearing, the judges will decide whether there are grounds for appeal and if Mr. Giordano could be released from custody, said Ann Angela, a spokeswoman for Aruban prosecutors.

No criminal charges have been filed against Mr. Giordano in the Aug. 2 disappearance and now presumed death of Robyn Gardner, 35, of Frederick. Md. He has been in Aruban custody since Aug. 5.

Ms. Gardner left on a trip to the Caribbean island with Mr. Giordano on July 31. The two were supposed to return stateside Aug. 5. However, Mr. Giordano reported Ms. Gardner missing Aug. 2, claiming she was swept out to sea while the two were snorkeling.

Mr. Giordano’s Aruban attorney, Michael Lopez, could not be reached Tuesday.

An attorney in the United States who has represented Mr. Giordano in previous legal matters also said Tuesday that he is being consulted by Mr. Lopez. American attorney Steven D. Kupferberg said he has not spoken personally with Mr. Giordano since he has been detained but that he has spoken with Mr. Lopez. He declined to discuss matters further.

Mr. Giordano’s father, Frank Giordano, spoke out Monday in defense of his son and described the “miserable” conditions in the Aruban jail. The lack of a mattress the first few days in jail, coupled with 100-degree heat in the cells and regular police interview had left his son exhausted, Frank Giordano told NBC’s “Today” show.

“They parked a police car right outside his cell on the grounds and they blew the horn every hour and that kept him awake. So he was pretty much exhausted anytime they interrogated him,” the elder Mr. Giordano said.

Before the judge’s Aug. 31 ruling for further detainment, Gary Giordano was not allowed contact with family members, officials said.

Describing a phone conversation with his son further, Frank Giordano disputed information that his son had a scratch on his neck when he was arrested and said he didn’t believe he was responsible for anything bad happening to Ms. Gardner.

“I can’t imagine that he would do anything like this,” Frank Giordano said. “I have no idea what happened to her, and I’m sorry if something bad did happen to her. I have no indication he was a part of that happening.”