A close relation to twice-failed candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams faces charges related to human trafficking in Florida. The Democrat’s brother-in-law was incarcerated on trafficking charges as well as attacking a teenager.
Jimmy Gardner’s arrest by Tampa police came Friday after the report from the 16-year-old alleged victim. She told investigators that he attacked her when she refused to have relations with him.
The suspect, who is described as a motivational speaker, reportedly convinced the teenager to go to his hotel room at the Renaissance Hotel. She told the police that she agreed at first to accept money in exchange for acts.
Later, however, she changed her mind and decided she did not want to go through with the arrangement. The alleged victim said Gardner became angry and a physical altercation ensued.
According to a press release, “Gardner placed his hands around the victim’s neck, impeding her breathing. After the dispute, Gardner left the hotel room, and the victim called 911.”
BREAKING: Stacey Abrams' brother-in-law Jimmie Gardner has been arrested on human trafficking allegations.
According to Tampa police, Gardner was engaging in s*xual acts with a 16 year old girl and even assaulted her.
Gardner reportedly met with the minor at a hotel and invited… pic.twitter.com/3LhrV258vq
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) November 17, 2023
He now faces charges of human trafficking for commercial activity (victim less than 18), lewd or lascivious touching of a minor 16 or 17 years of age by a person 24 years or older, and a misdemeanor count of battery.
Gardner appeared before a judge Saturday morning and was given a bond of $500,000.
With him in the courtroom was his wife, who was identified by State Attorney Suzy Lopez as Georgia Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner.
Abrams Gardner is the sister of Stacey Abrams, who is a Democratic darling and a media favorite despite two failed campaigns to become governor of Georgia.
According to the Office of the State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit, Gardner was convicted in the 1987 attacks on two women in West Virginia. He was exonerated on the charges in 2016, 27 years later.
His marriage to Leslie Abrams came two years after he was released.
His website touts his “message of positive thinking and resilience” to high school and college students. Interviewed in 2017, he said he was “very bitter” at first but “was able to overcome and become a better person.”