Jimmie Gardner, the brother-in-law of Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, was arrested by the Tampa Police Department after he allegedly attempted to hire a 16-year-old for sexual services.
The incident occurred at about 1:43 a.m., when Gardner invited the minor to his room at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza and offered her payment in exchange.
Furthermore, police allege that Gardner then assaulted the girl.
“The victim initially agreed but later told Gardner that she no longer wanted to engage and he became angry,” read a press release from police.
“Gardner advised the victim that she needed to leave his hotel room,” police added. “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, they were informed that Gardner had already left. Upon arriving at the police station, he was arrested and charged with Human Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Activity involving a minor under 18, Lewd or Lascivious Touching of a Minor aged 16 or 17 by an individual 24 years of age or older, and Battery (Misdemeanor).
“Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” read a statement from state attorney Suzy Lopez. “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.”
Gardner is well-known for his role as a motivational speaker and for being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984.
He is married to Leslie Abrams Gardner, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Georgia governor in 2020 against incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, receiving 46% of the vote compared to Kemp’s 53%.
The campaign was supported by a million dollar donation from left-wing billionaire George Soros.