KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- The state has charged a Bennington woman with lying during depositions for a domestic assault case involving a man accused of assaulting her.
Heidi Gardner, 41, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Monday in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division to a felony count of perjury and a misdemeanor charge of giving false information to a police officer. She was released on conditions she not have contact with Floyd Amidon, 54.
Amidon pleaded not guilty on Aug. 17 to second-degree aggravated domestic assault and misdemeanor interference with access to emergency services. According to Bennington police, Gardner accused him of putting his hands on her neck during an argument in which he threw things at her and prevented her from using a phone to call for help, which she was ultimately able to do. Amidon has since posted bail and resides in Bellows Falls while his case is pending.
According to an affidavit by Investigator Justin Niles, of the Bennington County Sheriff's Department, on Oct. 31 he was assigned to investigate a perjury complaint regarding a deposition that happened on Oct. 29 involving Gardner.
According to Niles, Gardner gave a sworn deposition stating that she and Amidon are no longer in a relationship and that it ended on Aug. 17. She said there was no violence in the relationship, that Amidon did not choke her or prevent her from using her phone, that she did not tell a 911 dispatcher she could not reach her phone, and that she did not tell the dispatcher that Amidon was being mean to her.
According to Niles, Gardner was cross-examined during the deposition and told attorneys that she knowingly told police that Amidon had put his hands on her throat when this was not true.
Niles wrote that he listened to the 911 recording and heard Gardner tell the dispatcher that Amidon was being mean to her and her children, and that Amidon had prevented her from getting to a phone. She also told the dispatcher she was leaving the home because Amidon was pushing her and choking her.
Niles wrote that when he spoke to Gardner on Aug. 30 she said Amidon had choked her and prevented her from calling for help. He said he also listened to recordings of phone calls between Gardner and Amidon while Amidon was at the Marble Valley Correctional Facility in Rutland. In those conversations, held between Oct. 10 and Oct. 27, Gardner and Amidon discussed buying a house and getting married.
According to Niles, Gardner was asked how many lies she told during the depositions "and agreed that she could not count them."
On Nov. 19 Amidon pleaded not guilty to a felony count of obstructing justice and 17 counts of violating court orders. According to another affidavit by Niles, Amidon told Gardner to lie at a deposition hearing by saying she lied for the original complaint. The affidavit quotes Amidon as saying "You need to have it pretty much, need to answer it just the way you did in the court thing, that you lied, that the police made you sign those things, that you didn't say either of them." Then later "Whatever you say is going to be used against me in the court, in court if they want to push it forward, whether or not you testify or not, you can't change your story no more, no nothing. Go with what you've been saying and don't change your story, you're fine all that you wanted the police to do was to have me leave and they decided they wanted to arrest me and there was nothing to charge me with."