Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler claims innocence, will not resign over rape allegation

Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler says he will not resign over a woman’s allegation that he raped her, telling supporters in an email that he is innocent. Ziegler sent the statement to state Republicans on Saturday, saying that he and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, are being targeted because they are “such loud political voices,” according to The Associated Press.  “We have a country to save and I am not going to let false allegations of a crime put that mission on the bench as I wait for this process to wrap up,” wrote Ziegler, 40. A longtime GOP activist, Ziegler ascended to the state party’s top post in February. A complaint against Ziegler was filed with the Sarasota Police Department on Oct. 4, stating that the alleged sexual battery occurred inside a woman’s Sarasota home on Oct. 2.  DEMOCRATS CALL FOR RESIGNATION OF FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN CHRISTIAN ZIEGLER AMID SEXUAL BATTERY ALLEGATIONS The accuser reportedly “told him over Instagram messages that she was distraught and ‘terrified’ of him after their encounter and unable to work,” according to Politico.  However, Ziegler’s wife, who co-founded the conservative group Moms for Liberty which has led a campaign with Gov. Ron DeSantis dealing with education in Florida schools, told police that she, the victim and her husband had consensual sex together over a year before the alleged crime occurred, Politico states. According to text messages cited in the affidavit, the woman and the Zieglers had planned to again have group sex on Oct. 2, but the woman backed out after Bridget Ziegler “couldn’t make it.” FLORIDA TEACHER’S ASSISTANT ARRESTED AFTER ALLEGEDLY SLAPPING MIDDLE SCHOOLER INSIDE CLASSROOM The woman said she found Ziegler in her apartment’s hallway later that day and that he pushed her inside and then raped her. In text and phone conversations monitored by investigators, Ziegler offered the woman “financial help” before becoming suspicious that they were being recorded. In a Nov. 2 interview with detectives, Ziegler said the sex was consensual and that he had recorded it. He said he deleted the video, then recovered it after the rape allegation surfaced. DeSantis said last week that while Ziegler is innocent until proven guilty, he should resign to avoid becoming a distraction to their party. Ziegler’s attorney, Derek Byrd, previously released a statement to FOX 13 Tampa Bay acknowledging the reports of the investigation, saying that Ziegler has fully cooperated with the police requests.  “We are confident that once the police investigation is concluded that no charges will be filed and Mr. Ziegler will be completely exonerated,” Byrd said in a statement. No charges have been filed against Ziegler, but the Sarasota Police investigation remains open. Fox News’ Stepheny Price and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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