Prosecutors decline to press charges against ex-Florida GOP chair Christian Ziegler following rape allegations

Prosecutors decline to press charges against ex-Florida GOP chair Christian Ziegler following rape allegations

Prosecutors in Sarasota opted against pressing charges against embattled former Florida Republican Party Chairman Christian Ziegler over accusations of video voyeurism.

Ultimately, the state attorney’s office in Sarasota concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him over allegations of illegally videotaping a woman who claimed he raped her without consent, per a memo obtained by The Post.

“Mr. Ziegler is relieved to be completely cleared of the false allegations and any criminal wrongdoing. We cooperated at every stage of the investigation and as difficult as it was, we remained quiet out of respect for the investigation,” his attorney Derek Byrd told The Post.

Christian Ziegler

Christian Ziegler became the Florida GOP chair in February of last year. AP

Back in January, just a couple weeks after he was ousted as the Florida GOP chairman, Sarasota police declined to pursue a rape case against him, similarly concluding there was insufficient evidence.

They used the video of the encounter that Ziegler recorded on his cellphone and concluded that the “sexual encounter was likely consensual,” according to the memo.

From there, authorities weighed whether or not Ziegler took that footage consensually. If he hadn’t, he would’ve faced charges, because it is against Florida state law to film sexual trysts without consent.

Ziegler told authorities last November that he had a conversation woman via Instagram messages that vanished about the video being taken so that he could share it with his wife, per the memo.

Authorities couldn’t find proof of that or glean hints from the video of the Oct. 2, 2023 incident about whether it was captured consensually but stressed that based on the footage, the camera did not appear hidden.

They also pointed out that she was intoxicated and that she had “inconsistencies” in her talks with authorities, who concluded they couldn’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The victim acknowledged it was possible she could have consented to one being taken,” the memo stated.

Christian Ziegler

Christian Ziegler’s attorney hailed the development as vindication. AP

That woman claims to have known Ziegler and his wife for about two decades and the alleged incident purportedly took place in her home.

Revelations of the investigation against Ziegler surfaced last November. Top Florida Republicans such as Gov. Ron DeSantis, as well as Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott called on him to step down.

Back in January, the Florida Republican Party ousted him and voted Evan Power, previously the vice chair, to replace him.

Christian Ziegler, Donald Trump

Christian Ziegler previously bested Evan Power to become the Florida Republican Party chair. TNS

The controversy from that ordeal engulfed both Ziegler and his wife, Bridget, both a power couple in Florida Republican Party politics.

Bridget Ziegler is a co-founder of Moms for Liberty, which works to elect conservative mothers onto school boards.

Although she was not accused of wrongdoing, she faced pressure to resign from the Sarasota School Board but declined to do so. She also has a spot on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Walt Disney World, which is the board that oversees the area around Walt Disney World.

Byrd indicated that Ziegler isn’t keen on pursuing a lawsuit against the woman, and instead, wants to move on. The attorney also knocked those who rushed to judgment on the matter.

“We asked everyone not to rush to judgment, and reminded everyone to presume Mr. Ziegler innocent — as the Constitution instructs,” Byrd said. “Unfortunately, many did not award that courtesy to Mr. Ziegler, damaging his family, career, and reputation throughout this process.”


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