Stacey Abrams’ Brother-in-Law Arrested, Charged with Human Trafficking
In a disturbing incident, Stacey Abrams’ brother-in-law, Jimmie Gardner, finds himself entangled in legal troubles, accused of attempting to pay a 16-year-old girl for sex and later assaulting her in a Tampa hotel room. The shocking arrest has left many questioning the background and actions of the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate’s family member.
The incident unfolded at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza in Tampa. Gardner, 57, invited the teenage girl to his hotel room and she initially agreed to exchange sex for money. However, the situation took a dark turn when the girl changed her mind, leading to a heated argument between the two. In a distressing escalation, Gardner allegedly choked the minor before leaving the hotel room.
The charges against Gardner include one felony count of human trafficking for commercial sexual activity with a victim under 18, one felony count of lewd or lascivious touching of a minor aged 16 or 17 by a person over 24, and one misdemeanor count of battery. This comes as a serious blow to Gardner, who was previously convicted in 1987 for the sexual assault of two women in West Virginia. However, he was exonerated 27 years later in 2016.
Despite Gardner’s previous exoneration, the seriousness of the charges and the nature of the incident raise concerns — and create headaches for his prominent relatives. In 2018, Gardner married Leslie Abrams Gardner, a federal judge and sister to Stacey Abrams, the two-time failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate. The prominent Democratic activist’s family is now under scrutiny as they navigate through the legal implications of Jimmie Gardner’s arrest.
Gardner’s background includes a past connection to sports, having been drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984. However, his current endeavors involve working as a motivational speaker and emotional intelligence trainer, particularly for students and individuals who were formerly incarcerated. His Instagram page describes him as a “27-year wrongful conviction survivor, social justice advocate, motivational speaker, mentor to at-risk youth,” and a “freedom fighter.”
State Attorney Suzy Lopez emphasized the importance of treating this case fairly, stating, “Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Our attorneys will prosecute this case as we would any other offender who is alleged to have committed these crimes.”