Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ brother-in-law, Jimmie Gardner, has been arrested in Florida and charged with human trafficking, battery, and lewd or lascivious touching of a minor. According to the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Gardner, a youth motivational speaker, is currently in jail with no bond and is scheduled to appear before a judge in Tampa on Saturday.
The incident occurred early Friday morning at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza, according to the Tampa Police. Gardner, age 57, allegedly met a 16-year-old girl and invited her to his hotel room. He offered to pay her for sex, which she initially agreed to, but later changed her mind. This reportedly angered Gardner, and a verbal altercation ensued. The altercation became physical when Gardner put his hands around the victim’s neck, impeding her breathing.
Police responded to a 911 call made by the victim, who was found at the scene. However, by the time they arrived, Gardner had already left. He later turned himself in at the Tampa Police District 1 Office and has been charged with human trafficking, lewd and lascivious touching of certain minors, and battery.
According to police, Gardner has a previous criminal record. In 1987, he was convicted of sexually assaulting two women in West Virginia and spent 25 years in prison. However, he was later exonerated.
Gardner is the husband of U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, the sister of Stacey Abrams. Judge Gardner was appointed to her position by former President Barack Obama in 2014 and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Wow another Liberal Stacey Abrams brother in law arrested for human trafficking. https://t.co/IOcmpJSTAE
— PATRICKHENRY (@PATRICKHENRY97) November 25, 2023
The news of Gardner’s arrest has raised concerns and sparked controversy. Many are calling for a thorough investigation and justice for the victim, while others are expressing disappointment and shock, given Gardner’s criminal history and connection to Stacey Abrams. Some are also questioning whether this incident will have any impact on Abrams’ political career.