Brother-in-law of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams faces human trafficking charges

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The Tampa Police Department arrested Jimmie Gardner Friday morning.

Gardner, a youth motivational speaker and the brother-in-law of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, has been charged by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s office with human trafficking.

He is in jail in Hillsborough County, held without bond and scheduled to face a judge Saturday.

Police said a 16-year-old victim came forward to report Gardner committed sex acts on her at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza, near Tampa International Airport.

Prosecutors stated, “His victim says Gardner paid her money and later became angry and choked her when she refused to have sex.”

The State Attorney’s Office offered this background on Gardner:

Gardner, who was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984, was wrongly convicted in the 1987 sexual assault of two women in West Virginia. He was exonerated in 2016 and released from prison 27 years after his wrongful conviction. Two years later, he married Georgia Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner. He currently lives in Georgia and works as a motivational speaker and emotional intelligence trainer for students and people who were formerly incarcerated.

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