Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler has stated that he will not resign from his position following an allegation of rape made against him. Ziegler, 40, sent an email to state Republicans asserting his innocence and stating that he and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, are being targeted due to their prominent political voices. The allegation was filed with the Sarasota Police Department on October 4, claiming that the incident occurred on October 2 inside a woman’s Sarasota home.
According to Politico, the accuser informed Ziegler over Instagram messages that she was distraught and terrified of him after their encounter and unable to work. However, Ziegler’s wife reportedly told the police that she, the victim, and her husband had engaged in consensual sex over a year before the alleged crime took place. Text messages cited in the affidavit indicate that the woman and the Zieglers had planned to engage in group sex on October 2, but the woman backed out after Bridget Ziegler was unable to attend.
The woman claims that she encountered Ziegler in her apartment’s hallway later that day, where he allegedly pushed her inside and raped her. Investigators monitored text and phone conversations in which Ziegler offered the woman financial help before becoming suspicious that they were being recorded. In a November 2 interview with detectives, Ziegler stated that the sexual encounter was consensual and that he had recorded it. He initially deleted the video but recovered it after the rape allegation surfaced.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called for Ziegler’s resignation, stating that while Ziegler is innocent until proven guilty, his resignation would prevent distraction within their party. Ziegler’s attorney, Derek Byrd, has expressed confidence that no charges will be filed and that Ziegler will be exonerated once the police investigation concludes. As of now, no charges have been filed, and the Sarasota Police investigation remains open.