(MOBILE, Ala.) Just a week before his trial was set to begin, the charges against a former Mobile County Assistant District Attorney have been dropped. Steve Giardini, who once prosecuted sex offenders, was charged with child sex crimes.
Giardini's first trial ended with a hung jury May 2011. A judge Monday afternoon granted the defense motion to dismiss the charges and also granted the defense motion for judgement of acquittal.
Giardini may have thought he was chatting online and on the phone with a 15-year-old girl, but in reality, he was talking to a male, undercover FBI agent. Their conversations were extremely sexual in nature. But because there was no victim, the judge said there was no case.
"The statute under which Steve was charged is a decades old statute that was never designed for computer solicitation or anything of that nature," said Giardini's defense attorney Dennis Knizley.
Knizley says now there is a law that covers when perpetrators think they are soliciting minors, even if they're not. Giardini had been charged with that, too, but the charge was dropped because the law went into effect in May 2009, one month after Giardini's activity stopped.
We went by Giardini's Midtown home for comment Tuesday. No one came to the door.
Knizely says it's been three years, nine months since this case began, and with the judge's ruling, it's finally come to an end.
"It's not something to be condoned, but just because we don't like the conduct does not necessarily make it criminal. And in this case it was not criminal," said Knizley.
Knizley says Giardini has an active law license and family in Huntsville, but he has not discussed what Giardini's plans for the future are.
The Alabama Attorney General's Office prosecuted the case and emailed this statement Tuesday afternoon:
"We are disappointed in the ruling of the court. We feel that our case was strong and cogent. We have no further comment at this time."