On November 18, 2023, in Hillsborough County, FL, Jimmie Gardner, the brother-in-law of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, was arrested. The charges against Gardner include human trafficking, battery, and lewd or lascivious touching of a minor, as reported by the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit.
Gardner, known as a youth motivational speaker, is being held in custody in Hillsborough County without bond. His initial court appearance is scheduled in Tampa. The incident leading to his arrest took place at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza, where Gardner allegedly engaged in sexual acts with a 16-year-old girl and subsequently assaulted her.
According to the Tampa Police report, Gardner encountered the minor around 1:43 a.m., inviting her to his hotel room with an initial offer of payment for sexual activities. The situation escalated into a physical altercation after the girl declined, during which Gardner reportedly choked her, obstructing her breathing.
Having served 25 years in prison for sexual assault charges in West Virginia before being exonerated, Gardner left the scene but later surrendered himself at the Tampa Police District 1 Office. He now faces charges of human trafficking, lewd and lascivious touching of certain minors, and battery.
Gardner is married to U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, who is the sister of Stacey Abrams. Judge Gardner, appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, has yet to provide comments on the matter. Fox News Digital has reached out to both Abrams and Judge Gardner for their statements.