Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ brother-in-law has been arrested on charges of human trafficking, lewd or lascivious touching of a minor and battery, according to the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit.
The office said in a press release:
“Jimmie Gardner, a youth motivational speaker and brother-in-law of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, is facing serious charges of human trafficking and is currently in jail in Hillsborough County with no bond.”
“Gardner is scheduled to face a judge in first [court appearance] in Tampa tomorrow.”
According to Tampa Police in Florida, the incident occurred early Friday morning at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza.
Jimmie Gardner, 57, allegedly engaged in sexual acts with a 16-year-old girl before sexually assaulting her.
Conservative journalist Laura Loomer was quick to react to the news on X:
“WOW! Breaking news @staceyabrams brother in law was just arrested in Florida for having sex with a minor and assaulting this minor! That means that Stacey Abram’s brother in law is a pedophile.”
“Even worse he is the husband of Stacey’s sister Leslie Abrams Gardner, a federal judge in Georgia who was on @JoeBiden’s shortlist to be selected as a United States Supreme Court Justice.”
“That means that Joe Biden was actually thinking of appointing the wife of a pedophile to serve on the United States Supreme Court!”
WOW! Breaking news @staceyabrams brother in law was just arrested in Florida for having sex with a minor and assaulting this minor! That means that Stacey Abram's brother in law is a pedophile. Even worse he is the husband of Stacey's sister Leslie Abrams Gardner, a federal judge…— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 18, 2023
Fox News reported:
Gardner allegedly met the minor at 1:43 a.m. and invited her into his hotel room, which she accepted, before offering to pay her for sex.
“The victim initially agreed but later told Gardner that she no longer wanted to engage, and he became angry,” police said.
“Gardner advised the victim that she needed to leave his hotel room.”
“The two got involved in a verbal altercation that escalated to a physical dispute after 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.”
Police found the victim at the scene, but Gardner had already fled the hotel.
Hours later, Gardner turned himself in to the Tampa Police District 1 Office.
He was charged with “human trafficking, lewd and lascivious touching of certain minors, and battery.”
In 1987, Gardner was charged with sexually assaulting two women in West Virginia and spent 25 years in prison, he was later exonerated, however.
Gardner is the husband of U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, Abrams’ sister, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014.
Jimmie Gardener lives in Georgia and works as a motivational speaker and emotional intelligence trainer for students and formerly incarcerated people.
“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. We take these charges very seriously,” said State Attorney Suzy Lopez in a statement.
Jimmie Gardener is in jail in Hillsborough County with no bond, according to police.
He is scheduled to face a judge in first appearance court in Tampa on Saturday.