Stacey Abrams’ Brother-in-Law Arrested in Tampa for Human Trafficking, Attacking Teen

It’s been a rough week for Stacey Abrams.

First, the organization she founded, the New Georgia Project, came under investigation for shady finances and suspect expenditures.

Now, a family member has come under investigation for serious crimes.

Jimmie Gardner, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s brother-in-law, has been arrested on serious allegations of human trafficking and assault on a teenager.

Gardner was caught by Tampa officials, according to WFLA 8. Gardner has a problematic record, including a previous conviction for sexual assault that was eventually reversed.

According to the charges against him, Gardner allegedly brought a 16-year-old to his hotel room to pay her for sex before choking her for refusing sex. The victim would be a minor; thus, it would be statutory rape.

According to a Tampa Police Department statement, Gardner saw the juvenile at 1:43 a.m. and invited her to join him in his room at the Renaissance Hotel on International Plaza.

“The victim initially agreed, but later told Gardner that she no longer wanted to engage, and he became angry,” according to the press statement.

“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.”

Jimmie Gardner was convicted in 1987 for sexually assaulting two women in West Virginia, but was exonerated in 2016, according to the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit.

He married Stacey Abrams’ sister, Obama-appointed federal judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, two years after his release.

Gardner was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984. He now works as a motivational speaker and emotional intelligence trainer in Georgia, mainly with kids and persons who have previously been jailed.

If the charges stick, Gardner may soon have to use those skills in prison himself.

By Melinda Davies
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