Call it the strange tale of Jimmie Gardner.
After spending over two decades in prison only to be found wrongly convicted of sexually assaulting two women in West Virginia in 1987, Gardner was released. He then married Georgia Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner — the sister of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, according to WTVT.
Now Gardner is in trouble with the law again. And again he is accused of sexually assaulting a female, this time a minor.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 18, 2023
Gardner is 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.
According to police, Gardner made contact with the 16-year-old female victim early Friday morning. When he invited her back to his hotel room, she accepted.
At the hotel, Gardner offered the victim money for sex. The victim agreed at first but then told Gardner she no longer wanted to go through with it. This reportedly made Gardner angry.
Gardner then told the victim to leave the hotel room. This didn’t go over well and the two of them engaged in a “verbal altercation that escalated to a physical dispute.” Gardner reportedly put his hands around the victim’s neck and cut off her breathing.
Interestingly, it was Gardner who left the hotel room and called 911. Officers arrived upon the scene but Gardner had already left. Police did locate the victim at the hotel.
Gardner is being held in jail without bond in Hillsborough County. He is scheduled to face a judge Saturday, according to WINK-TV.
Gardner has led a strange life, to say the very least.
When he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984 he must have felt like he was on top of the world. Then, in 1987, he was convicted of sexually assaulting two women in West Virginia. In 2016, he was released from prison 27 years after a court found he had been wrongfully convicted.
A new chapter in Gardner’s life had begun.
In 2018, Gardner married Georgia Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner. He lives in Georgia where he works “as a motivational speaker and emotional intelligence trainer for students and people who were formerly incarcerated,” according to WINK.
In 2023, the new chapter of Gardner’s life seems to be a strange retelling of the last chapter. Once again he is facing prison time for alleged sexual assault.
Gardner will have his day in court in Florida. It’s more than a bit odd he was the one who called 911.
It goes without saying: 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.
Gardner is either truly hapless or he has a character flaw when it comes to women.
At this point, it appears Gardner was alone with a minor in a motel room in Florida. That doesn’t look good. Being accused of choking a minor looks even worse.
However it turns out, 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. What’s he going to tell the court — let alone his wife — that he was emotionally training the girl?
It looks to be a case of “he said, she said“. No matter what happened in that hotel room, Gardner appears to be guilty of bad judgment — very bad judgment.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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