Gary Giordano Says 'Swimming Story was True'

The only suspect in Robyn Gardner's disappearance talks to ABC News.

December 01, 2011, 3:05 AM

Dec. 1, 2011— -- Gary Giordano adamantly denied many of the allegations against him in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner while on vacation in Aruba, defiantly telling "Good Morning America" today that much of the published information about her disappearance was wrong.

"I'll interview myself, if you don't mind," Giordano said in his first interview since being released from an Aruba prison. "There are hard questions, like 'he took her to remote location' on the island. But we were 100 yards from a scuba diving store with tanks in back. It was not a 'remote location.' We were in view of other people at Baby Beach."

Giordano was released Tuesday night from the jail where he had been kept for four months as the sole suspect in Gardner's disappearance. During that time, Aruban prosecutors reported that much of Giordano's story about the appearance didn't add up.

"Me 'escaping' from the island has been extremely misreported," Giordano said. He claimed that he went to catch his flight after Gardner's mother and the authorities said it was okay for him to leave.

When asked whether he was drinking heavily the day of Gardner's disappearance, Giordano said he had never heard that claim, and that they did not order drinks at the Rum Runner, the beachfront bar where they were last seen together.

He also explained why he contacted the insurance company just two days after Gardner's disappearance to inquire about a $1.5 million travel insurance policy he had taken out on Gardner.

"My lawyer at the time, Michael Lopez, said you need to call insurance immediately. Helicopters and divers might send you an invoice. Call insurance and ask them how they deal with these expenses," Giordano said.

Giordano's American attorney, Jose Baez, noted that Lopez was a personal injury lawyer, and claimed that Lopez had tried to get Giordano to sign a retainer for his services promising one-third of the insurance money.

"One more important piece is that there is a Holland handbook for travelers, and it says that when someone goes missing, the first thing you should do is call authorities, and the second is call your insurance. The government itself says that," Giordano said.

Giordano said he believed Gardner's disappearance may have had something to do with what he called Aruba's two biggest illegal income sources: cocaine and human trafficking.

"It's a half-hour boat ride to Venezuela, and it turns out that where we were, the beach, that's where they drop off illegals to swim to shore," Giordano said.

The man described by Aruban police as the lone suspect in Gardner's disappearance disputed descriptions of his search for help after she disappeared, particularly surveillance video at the Rum Runner showing Giordano walking around the shuttered bar without an apparent sense of urgency.

Giordano told GMA that he was exhausted after swimming back to shore and that there was obviously nobody at the bar.

"It is what it is. There's nobody there... I'm supposed to scream into the air?" he asked.

Baez disputed assessments that there was a mountain of evidence against Giordano. "There wa a mountain of nothing... Judges are not in the business of releasing people wiht a mountain of evidence."

Giordano's interview took place two days after he was released from an Aruban jail, allowing him to return home to Maryland. He said he was interviewed 50 to 60 times by Dutch interrogators while at the prison.

He had never been formally charged with a crime in Gardner's disappearance, but had been held for nearly four months as a suspect while Aruban prosecutors continued to investigate the case.

Gardner, 35, disappeared Aug. 2, at the beginning of a week-long vacation with Giordano, whom she met on a swinger's website. Giordano, 50, told police that the pair went snorkeling around 6 p.m., and when he turned around, Gardner was gone, swept out to sea. Prosecutors have said they don't believe Giordano's story but have not found Gardner's body, a weapon, or a motive for her murder.

Baez said his client will return to Aruba if ordered to by authorities. Prosecutors said they will seek his extradition if they can bring formal charges against Giordano.

In his first moments after being released, Giordano allowed ABC News to witness his first phone calls to his three children, and his gratefulness to his attorneys.

"You know, it was almost a surreal moment for him," Baez told ABC News. "He had to keep pinching himself. He had been lied to so many times by the authorities here. The last time at the airport he was told he could leave, and then all of a sudden he was picked up and arrested? It's hard for him to believe he's going home."

Baez said that Giordano will focus in the coming weeks on "reassembling his life."

"He's starting to just get his life back together again. I know what he plans on doing is immediately spending time with his kids. That's most important thing to Gary, and with his family, to thank family for their support," Baez said.

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