Brother-in-law of Stacey Abrams arrested on human trafficking charges

Gardner is being accused of engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old girl.

Former Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams' brother-in-law was arrested in Florida on charges of human trafficking, lascivious touching of a minor and battery. 

"Jimmie Gardner, a youth motivational speaker and brother-in-law of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, is facing serious charges of human trafficking and is currently in jail in Hillsborough County with no bond. Gardner is scheduled to face a judge in first [court appearance] in Tampa tomorrow," the Office of the State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit wrote in a press release. 

Gardner is being accused of engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old girl before assaulting her while in the middle of an altercation, according to Fox News. 

Tampa police say the incident happened Friday morning at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza.

Gardner allegedly met the minor at the hotel at 1:43 a.m. and offered to pay her to have sex with him.

"The victim initially agreed but later told Gardner that she no longer wanted to engage and he became angry," police said, according to the outlet. "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." 

Prior to this incident, Gardner was wrongfully convicted and spent 27 years in prison for sexually assaulting two women in 1987, but he was eventually exonerated, according to the State Attorney.  

Gardner is married to Stacey Abrams' sister, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014.