FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Christian Ziegler, the chair of Florida’s Republican Party, has categorically denied the allegation made against him by a woman who claims he raped her. In an email to supporters, Ziegler expressed his innocence and made it clear that he does not intend to resign from his position. The accusation, which has created upheaval in the state’s conservative politics, was not addressed in detail in the statement.
Ziegler believes that he and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, are being targeted due to their strong political views. Bridget Ziegler is a co-founder of the conservative group Moms for Liberty, which has been working closely with Governor Ron DeSantis on an initiative to revise sex education in Florida schools.
While Governor DeSantis stated that Christian Ziegler is presumed innocent until proven guilty, he advised Ziegler to step down to prevent the situation from becoming a distraction for their party. However, Ziegler remains adamant that he will not give up his position.
“I will not allow false allegations of a crime to deter me from our mission of saving our country,” wrote 40-year-old Ziegler in the email. With a long history as a GOP activist, he assumed his current role as the chair of the state party in February.
No charges have been filed against Ziegler thus far; however, an ongoing investigation by the Sarasota Police remains active. The accuser, who has known Ziegler for 20 years, reported to the police in October that he forcibly entered her apartment and raped her, according to search warrant affidavits.
Ziegler did not directly address his prior statement to detectives admitting to consensual sexual activity with the woman in question. He also did not address his wife’s statement to law enforcement that the couple had engaged in group sex with the accuser over a year ago.
“My family is standing strong. I have the unwavering support of my wife, and we are taking all necessary precautions to safeguard our three children, just as we have done in response to previous attacks,” Christian Ziegler reassured in his email. The Ziegler couple did not respond to inquiries seeking further comment.
The spokesperson for Governor DeSantis, Jeremy Redfern, did not offer a comment regarding Ziegler’s refusal to resign when contacted for a response.
Hypocrisy Claimed in Sexual Assault Allegation Against Couple
Democrats and gay rights leaders are accusing Bridget Ziegler and her husband, Christian Ziegler, of hypocrisy following police affidavits alleging that the couple engaged in group sex with a woman. This accusation is particularly significant considering Bridget Ziegler’s involvement with “Moms for Liberty,” an organization that aligns with Florida Governor DeSantis and the GOP against LBGTQ+ causes.
Bridget Ziegler serves as an elected member of the Sarasota County school board and was appointed by Governor DeSantis to a board responsible for overseeing land development at Walt Disney World. Notably, Governor DeSantis passed legislation last year to dissolve Disney’s control over a board after the company opposed his bill that imposed limitations on sex education in schools.
Public awareness of the rape accusation against Christian Ziegler arose after the Florida Center for Government Accountability, an investigative news organization, obtained a police report and search warrant affidavits containing detailed allegations.
To protect the privacy of the accuser, her name has been redacted from the documents. The Associated Press adheres to a policy of not disclosing possible victims of sexual assault without their consent.
According to cited text messages within the affidavit, there were initial plans for the woman and the Zieglers to engage in group sex on October 2nd. However, the woman changed her mind after Bridget Ziegler communicated that she could not participate.
Later that day, the woman claims to have encountered Christian Ziegler in the hallway of her apartment. Allegedly, he forcibly pushed her inside and raped her.
During monitored text and phone conversations, Ziegler reportedly offered the woman financial assistance before growing suspicious that their conversations were being recorded.
Ziegler maintained in a November 2nd interview with detectives that the sexual encounter was consensual and that he had initially deleted the video. However, he recovered it once the rape allegation came to light.