Jimmie Gardner is the brother-in-law of Stacey Abrahms, the twice-failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate. He’s also now under arrest for human trafficking and assault over an incident in Tampa, Florida, involving an underage girl and what looks like some serious misconduct.
According to the Tampa Police Department, Mr. Gardner, who is 57 years old, was arrested on Friday for allegedly attempting to engage in sexual activity with an underage girl. The girl appears to have been 16 years old and refused his advances.
The Tampa Police Department released a lengthy press release describing what happened and what charges Mr. Gardner faces in connection with the horrifying incident. Beginning, it noted, “On November 17, 2023, Tampa Police arrested 57-year-old Jimmie Gardner following a juvenile who reported she had been engaged in sexual acts with Gardner.”
Continuing, the press release described, generally, what transpired between Mr. Gardner and the underage girl. Beginning that narrative of the night’s events, it said, “At approximately 1:43 a.m., Gardner made contact with the 16-year-old female victim and invited her back to his hotel room, which she accepted.”
Next, the press release described what Mr. Gardner did and how the situation deteriorated, saying, “Upon arrival at the hotel room, Gardner offered the victim money in exchange for sexual acts. The victim initially agreed but later told Gardner that she no longer wanted to engage and he became angry.”
Things then deteriorated further, leading to the assault aspect of the incident. The press release provided, “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.”
The officers eventually arrived on the scene and found the victim but not Mr. Gardner, who had departed the hotel: “Upon arrival, officers were unable to make contact with Gardner at the hotel as he had already left, but contact was made with the victim on scene.”
The press release then described what charges Mr. Gardner is facing, saying, “While officers were at the hotel, Gardner reported to the Tampa Police District 1 Office, where he was later taken into custody and charged with One (1) Felony Count of Human Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Activity (Victim Less Than 18), One (1) Felony Count of Lewd or Lascivious Touching of Minor 16 or 17 Year of Age By Person 24 Years of Age or Older, and One (1) Misdemeanor Count of Battery.”
Concluding, the press release noted that the underage girl had been connected with local resources for victims of crime, saying, “The victim was connected to the Tampa Police Victim Advocate, as well as other community resources.”
State Attorney Suzy Lopez, commenting on the situation, said, “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.”
Mr. Gardner is related by marriage to Stacey Abrams. He married Leslie Abrams Gardner, a federal judge and sister of Stacey Abrams, in 2018, two years after his release from prison. Gardner had been drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984 and currently works as a motivational speaker.
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