Summarized by Kent Larsen
Will LDS politician enter plea today? (Gardner ready to agree to a plea?)
Deseret News 11Nov99 D2
By Edward L. Carter: Deseret News staff writer
PROVO, UTAH -- Ahead of a trial scheduled for today, Utah County
Commissioner David J. Gardner may cut a plea bargain. Gardner's
attorney has been intently discussing with prosecutors a plea for the
LDS Church member, who is facing drunk driving charges. The plea
would save both Gardner and the County a potentially embarrassing
Gardner has long claimed innocence in the March 22nd incident.
Gardner's car swerved into a field, and sparks from the fire started
a brush fire, which he then tried to stomp out, causing burns on his
feet. At that time Utah Highway Patrol specialists administered
sobriety tests, which Gardner failed. The results of blood and urine
tests also administered at the time have not been released. Gardner
claims that he was given a drink of something that tasted like vodka
from a hitchiker that he picked up.
The County political establishment has adopted a wait-and-see
attitude toward the trial. While some critics attacked Gardner at a
Republican central committee meeting this past summer, others have
taken a low-key approach, "As Republicans we believe in the due
process of law," says county party chairman Stan Lockhart. "It's
important to see what happens in the courts with Commissioner
Gardner. It's premature to say anything before the courts make their
And even the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving is being cautious.
"We're just waiting to see what happens," said Mary Phillips, vice
president of the group's Salt Lake City chapter. "Our intent is
getting people held responsible."