Brother-in-law of Stacey Abrams, federal judge’s husband charged with human trafficking

TAMPA, Fla. — The brother-in-law of two-time Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and the husband of Georgia Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner is facing human trafficking charges.

On Friday, Jimmie Gardner, 57, was arrested in Tampa, Florida after a 16-year-old girl said she had been involved in sexual acts with him inside a hotel room.

Tampa police say the teenage girl told them that Gardner contacted her just before 1:45 a.m. and invited her to his hotel room and she accepted.

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Once there, Gardner reportedly offered the girl money for sex. She initially agreed, but when she changed her mind, she said he became angry and began choking her.

After he stopped and left the hotel room, she called 911.

By the time police arrived, Gardner was gone. He was arrested just a few hours later, according to jail records.

He’s charged with human trafficking, lewd or lascivious touching of a minor and battery.


In 1990, Gardner was wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting an elderly woman in West Virginia. After more than 26 years in prison, his conviction was vacated and he was released from prison in 2016.

After his release, he married Judge Abrams Gardner, who serves as a federal judge in the Middle District of Georgia, in 2018 and began working as a motivational speaker.

Before his conviction, Gardner was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and spent four seasons in the minor leagues.

“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. We take these charges very seriously,” said Florida State Attorney Suzy Lopez.

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