© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newly released police report discloses more details on Christian Ziegler's rape investigation

From left, Bridget and Christian Ziegler smiling into the camera
The Zieglers have risen in the ranks of GOP politics in recent years.

The Florida Trident reports new information released by Sarasota police reveals details on a rape allegation against Christian Ziegler.

New information released by Sarasota police sheds more light on a rape allegation against Christian Ziegler, according to a report by the Florida Trident.

A woman accused the former Florida GOP chairman of sexually assaulting her last October while she was drunk and unable to consent, as well as filming the encounter without her knowledge.

Police said they were "unable to develop sufficient probable cause to charge Christian Ziegler with sexual battery" in January. Sarasota police did send a probable cause affidavit to the State Attorney’s Office for review for the charge of video voyeurism.

According to the police report, Christian Ziegler met the woman years prior at the Joyland nightclub in Bradenton. His wife, Bridget Ziegler, said she and her husband engaged in a three-way sexual encounter with the woman two years ago.

Bridget Ziegler is one of the original three co-founders of Moms for Liberty and a Sarasota County school board member.

Police recovered evidence from Christian Ziegler’s phone during their investigation, including a list of women under a subheading containing an expletive. The alleged victim’s name was among the people listed.

Police said they also recovered texts between the Zieglers about the woman.

On Feb. 19, 2021, after Christian Ziegler texted his wife to pick up the alleged victim, Bridget Ziegler said she was worried the woman was going through a rough time. She texted her husband: “I just don’t want to feel like we ever take advantage of anyone (I know it’s always been consensual) …”

Christian Ziegler said the two needed “to hunt for somebody new,” according to the report.

During the investigation, the woman told police Christian Ziegler “had been sexually battering her for years, and she never felt like she could say no to him.” She also said he entered her house once by climbing through an unlocked window, which was corroborated by a 2021 text between the two.

While interviewing her, police said the woman looked like she had been drinking, noting a partially empty tequila bottle on her bar. The woman also visited a restaurant the day of the incident. The restaurant manager told police she seemed intoxicated, “troubled and couldn’t walk very well.”

After police interviewed Christian Ziegler in November, they said he made several Google searches such as, “What is the average settlement for a premises liability sexual assault case,” and, “How sex crimes are investigated and prosecuted in the state of Florida.”

Although police closed the rape investigation, a video voyeurism case remains under review at State Attorney Ed Brodsky’s office.

To read more about the investigation, click here to read the Florida Trident’s full report.

You can read the Sarasota Police Department's report below:

As WUSF’s digital news producer, I strive to serve others by sharing stories on our online platforms.