- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gaithersburg man whose female traveling companion went missing in August during an Aruba vacation spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since being released from jail, but he refused to describe the incidents that led to the woman’s presumed death.

Gary Giordano said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he was “absolutely not” involved in the death of 35-year-old Robyn Gardner of Frederick, Md., declining to answer specific questions and saying he has told his story to investigators “50, 60 times.”

“I’m not prepared to — at this point — go from the moment of that day to the end of the day,” said Mr. Giordano, with attorney Jose Baez at his side and his three boys in the background. “I’m just not.”

Mr. Giordano, 50, was released from jail Tuesday after being held four months in Ms. Gardner’s disappearance. An Aruba appeals court ruled Friday that prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to continue holding him.

He said during an 11-minute interview that the couple went snorkeling Aug. 2 near others and within a hundred yard of a scuba diving store, refuting media reports that the couple went into the water in a remote location.

Mr. Giordano has said Ms. Gardner was swept out to sea while snorkeling. Her body has not been found.

“We were in view of other people,” he said. “Let’s clear that up.”He also defended his actions after the incident, which were captured by a surveillance camera at the Rum Runner bar. He challenged interviewer Robin Robert’s assertion that he and his swimsuit were dry.

Mr. Giordano also challenged her assertion that he did not act urgently, saying he was “exhausted” from swimming, then running and that screaming for help at a closed bar made no sense. He said he was wearing sneakers because he was wearing them while snorkeling.

On the issue of him taking out a $1.5 million accidental-death policy on Ms. Gardner, Mr. Giordano said it was part of a larger travel-insurance package that covered both of them. He said he inquired about the policy just days after Ms. Gardner’s disappearance because a lawyer said he could be billed for search-and-rescue efforts.

Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said authorities would ask for Mr. Giordano’s extradition as soon as they are ready to bring charges.

He also said the interview did not change his opinion that Mr. Giordano is the main suspect.

“Clearly, if you look at what he said there, he is avoiding the subject and not making clear statements about what happened,” Mr. Stein said.

At the end of the interview, Mr. Giordano asserted that cocaine and human trafficking were Aruba’s “two main sources of income,” though he did not explicitly suggest that either had anything to do with Ms. Gardner’s disappearance. He also noted that Venezuela is a 30-minute boat ride away from the beach where he and Ms. Gardner were snorkeling.

— This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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