Police cleared the ousted chair of the Florida Republican Party of rape allegations on Friday but said they have asked prosecutors to charge him with illegally making a video recording of the sexual encounter he had with the woman who accused him.
Sarasota Police said the cellphone video that Christian Ziegler made of the sexual encounter in October with the accuser was “likely consensual,” but the woman was unaware the encounter was being recorded and did not consent to it.
Police requested the county’s state attorney to file video voyeurism charges against Ziegler, which in Florida is a third-degree felony that is punishable by five years in prison.
Ziegler, 40, previously admitted having sex with the woman but insisted it was consensual and blamed political opponents for sensationalizing the matter. Court records show that his wife, Bridget Ziegler, told detectives the three had engaged in sex once more than a year ago. Police said Bridget Ziegler backed out of the planned encounter but her husband went to the accuser’s apartment alone.
Bridget Ziegler is a co-founder of Moms for Liberty, as well as an elected member of the Sarasota County School Board.
Christian Ziegler’s attorney stated the they believed Ziegler would be exonerated of all charges.
“He has been completely honest, forthright, and has been fully cooperative with law enforcement at every stage of this investigation,” Byrd said. “While we are disappointed that the Sarasota Police Department ‘punted’ the decision on the remaining portion of the case to the State Attorney’s office, we strongly believe that the State Attorney will not prosecute Mr. Ziegler for any crime.”