Stacey Abrams’ brother-in-law Jimmie Gardner is arrested ‘for trying to pay underage girl


  • Jimmie Gardner, 57, was taken into custody on Friday by Tampa Police for allegedly engaging in sex acts with a 16-year-old girl in Florida
  • He is accused of meeting the minor at 1.43am and inviting her to his room at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza before he offered her money for sex
  • Gardner, who married US District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, sister of former Georgia politician Abrams, in 2018 , is in Hillsborough County jail with no bond 

The brother-in-law of former Georgia State House of Representatives member Stacey Abrams has been arrested over claims of human trafficking. 

Jimmie Gardner, 57, was taken into custody on Friday by Tampa Police for allegedly engaging in sex acts with a 16-year-old girl in Florida, where the age of consent is 18.

He is accused of meeting the minor at 1:43am and inviting her to his room at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza before he offered her money for sex.

Authorities claim Gardner grabbed her by the throat and began choking her after she refused to sleep with him and the victim called 911. He left the hotel by the time police arrived but they discovered the young girl at the scene. 

Gardner, who married US District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, the sister of former Georgia politician Abrams, in 2018, is in Hillsborough County jail with no bond. He is scheduled to appear in court in Tampa on Saturday.

Jimmie Gardner, 57, the brother-in-law of former US Representative Stacey Abrams, has been arrested over claims of human trafficking

Jimmie Gardner, 57, the brother-in-law of former US Representative Stacey Abrams, has been arrested over claims of human trafficking

He was taken into custody on Friday by Tampa Police for allegedly engaging in sex acts with a  girl, 16, in Florida. He is accused of meeting the minor at 1:43am and inviting her to his room at Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza (pictured) before he offered her money for sex

He was taken into custody on Friday by Tampa Police for allegedly engaging in sex acts with a  girl, 16, in Florida. He is accused of meeting the minor at 1:43am and inviting her to his room at Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza (pictured) before he offered her money for sex

Gardner, who married the sister of former Georgia politician Abrams (pictured), in 2018 , is in Hillsborough County jail with no bond

Gardner, who married the sister of former Georgia politician Abrams (pictured), in 2018 , is in Hillsborough County jail with no bond 

The minor told Tampa police that Gardner offered her money for sex acts which she agreed to before changing her mind. 

Officials claimed the pair then got in a verbal argument after he told her to leave his hotel room but it quickly escalated into a physical altercation in which he grabbed her by the throat and she struggled to breathe. 

‘The victim initially agreed but later told Gardner that she no longer wanted to engage and he became angry,’ a police statement read.

‘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.’ 

When police arrived at the hotel, Gardner had left but officers found the victim still at the scene. 

Authorities said the suspect reported to the Tampa Police District 1 Office and he was arrested on charges of human trafficking for commercial sexual activity, lewd or lascivious touching of minor 16 or 17 years of age by someone over 24 and a misdemeanor count of battery. 

Gardner married Georgia District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner (pictured) in 2018. She is the sister of former US Representative Abrams who served from 2007 up until 2017

Gardner married Georgia District Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner (pictured) in 2018. She is the sister of former US Representative Abrams who served from 2007 up until 2017

The Office of the State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit said Gardner was previously convicted for the sexual assault of two women in West Virginia in 1987 but he was exonerated in 2016 after spending more than 25 years in prison. 

He received a $3million settlement from the state and settled with the Charleston Police Department in March 2019 for $175,000. 

‘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,’ State Attorney Suzy Lopez said.

‘We take these charges very seriously.’

Gardner, who was previously drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984, married District Judge Leslie in 2018.

She is the sister of former Georgia State Representative Abrams who served from 2007 up until 2017.

Abrams reigned to run for governor in 2022. Abrams nearly won the gubernatorial race but was defeated in a slim win by Republican Brian Kemp.

Gardner lives and works in Georgia where he served as a motivational speaker and emotional intelligence trainer for students for those formerly incardinated. 

DailyMail.com has contacted Tampa police for comment.  



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