The Florida Republican Party recently experienced shifts in leadership after an extensive investigation into Chairman Christian Ziegler’s personal behavior. Following the investigation, GOP leaders overwhelmingly supported his removal from the position on January 8. In response to these findings, former Vice-Chairman Evan Power promptly assumed the role.
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) publicly condemned Ziegler last year when accusations of a sexual assault in Sarasota emerged. During a December press briefing, the governor deemed the charges highly serious and expressed the belief that Ziegler should resign.
The accusations against Ziegler are linked to an incident in October of the previous year. A woman from Sarasota, who had reportedly engaged in consensual three-way encounters with the chairman and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, at least once before, accused him of sexual assault.
According to court records, the group had planned to have another private encounter. However, Bridget canceled at the last minute, and Ziegler’s accuser also opted out, informing him via text, “Sorry, I was mostly in for [Bridget].”
As per the woman’s statement, Christian Ziegler arrived at her apartment on October 2, disregarding her choice to decline participation. Despite her being significantly intoxicated and unable to provide legal consent, he allegedly proceeded to sexually assault her.
The initial incriminating evidence they discovered was surveillance footage recorded outside the Sarasota woman’s apartment, confirming Ziegler’s presence on that day. However, this evidence alone did not warrant an arrest.
As the investigation progressed, it uncovered intricate details. Ziegler admitted to engaging in sexual activity with the woman but asserted her willingness. He informed the police that he had initially recorded the encounter and promptly deleted it. Following the public disclosure of the accusations, he stated that he had retrieved the recording and uploaded it to his Google Drive.
Law enforcement, despite issuing a subpoena to Google to recover deleted data from Ziegler’s cloud drive, has not been able to locate evidence of the purported video. Nevertheless, a distinct search warrant uncovered numerous messages between the ex-chairman and the Sarasota woman, wherein she unequivocally conveyed the seriousness of the allegations. The criminal case remains unresolved at this time.