Jimmie Gardner, a youth motivational speaker and the brother-in-law of twice-failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, has been arrested on charges of human trafficking.
Gardner, 57, was taken into custody by Tampa Police after a 16-year-old victim reported that she had been coerced into sexual acts and physically assaulted by Gardner at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza.
The Tampa Police Department detailed the arrest in a recent press release, stating that the incident occurred in the early hours of November 17, 2023.
According to the victim’s account, Gardner invited her to his hotel room and offered her money for sexual acts. The situation escalated when the victim refused, leading to a physical altercation where Gardner allegedly choked her.
Gardner, who was wrongly convicted of sexual assault in 1987 and exonerated in 2016 after 27 years of “wrongful imprisonment,” is currently married to Georgia Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner.
Since his release, Gardner has been allegedly active as a motivational speaker, focusing on emotional intelligence training for students and formerly incarcerated individuals, according to the press release.
He is scheduled to face a judge in first appearance court in Tampa on Friday.
The charges against Gardner include one felony count of human trafficking for commercial sexual activity involving a victim under 18, one felony count of lewd or lascivious touching of a minor aged 16 or 17 by a person 24 years of age or older, and one misdemeanor count of battery.
Following his arrest, Gardner was taken to Orient Road Jail in Hillsborough County, where he is being held with no bond. The Tampa Police Department has confirmed that the investigation remains active and that additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
The victim has been connected with the Tampa Police Victim Advocate and other community resources.
Stacey Abrams did not immediately respond to The Gateway Pundit’s request for comment.