It’s a cautionary tale for Stacey Abrams – the unfortunate saga of Jimmie Gardner, her brother-in-law. After spending over two decades in prison for a crime he was wrongfully convicted of, Gardner was released only to find himself now in hot-water for sexually assaulting a minor.
“On Friday, Gardner, 57, was arrested by local authorities in Florida after a juvenile reported she had been ‘engaged in sexual acts with Gardner’ according to Tampa Police,” WTVT reported.
Gardner is now charged with one felony count of Human Trafficking for Commercial Sexual activity with a Victim Less Than 18, one felony count of Lewd or Lascivious touching of a Minor 16 or 17 Years of Age by a Person 24 Years of Age or Older and one misdemeanor count of Battery.
“If convicted, the human trafficking charge alone could get Gardner up to 15 years in prison,” according to police, and the incident occurred allegedly when Gardner “made contact with the 16-year-old female victim early Friday morning and invited her back to his hotel room.”
The victim reportedly accepted, but then told Gardner that she no longer wanted to go through with it, and when Gardner retaliated by ordering her to leave, it “escalated to a physical dispute,” during which Gardner allegedly put his hands around the victim’s neck and cut off her breathing.
Although Gardner himself is the one who called 911 and left the hotel room, the victim had already been found by the police when they arrived.
“Being accused of choking a minor looks even worse,” WINK-TV reported.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 18, 2023
At this point, it appears Gardner was alone with a minor in a motel room in Florida and being wrongfully convicted and spending almost three decades behind bars for a crime a court says he did not commit ought to have been a sobering lesson for Gardner.
“It seems like any 57-year-old man who had spent 27 years in prison on charges of sexual assault would be a fool to be alone with a minor in a hotel room,” WINK-TV postulated. Gardner is being held in jail without bond in Hillsborough County and must face a judge Saturday, thus posing Stacey Abrams a sobering reminder: “He is innocent until proven guilty. Whatever the case, he’s probably a bit gun-shy of the court system, having been wrongfully convicted and spending almost three decades behind bars for a crime a court says he did not commit.”