Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, husband of Moms For Liberty cofounder, accused of sexual battery by alleged menage a trois lover

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Christian Ziegler
Suncoast Tiger Bay panel on immigration with CJ Czaia and Christian Ziegler. 2017. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News.

by Bob Norman, Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA)
November 30, 2023

Christian Ziegler, Florida’s GOP chairman and husband of Sarasota County School Board member and Moms of Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, is under criminal investigation after a woman filed a complaint with the Sarasota Police Department alleging the longtime Republican official had raped her, according to a heavily redacted police report obtained by the Florida Trident

The complaint was filed on October 4 and the alleged sexual battery occurred inside the woman’s home in Sarasota on October 2, according to the report. Among the few words that went unredacted in the report are “rape” and “sexual battery.”

The woman, according to sources close to the investigation, alleged that she and both Zieglers had been involved in a longstanding consensual three-way sexual relationship prior to the incident. The incident under investigation by Sarasota police occurred when Christian Ziegler and the woman were alone at the woman’s house, without Bridget Ziegler present, the sources conveyed.

Sources also corroborated that a search warrant was executed on Christian Ziegler’s cell phone and that investigators continue to conduct a forensic examination of the electronic device. Christian Ziegler is also alleged to have secretly videotaped the sexual encounters between the couple and the woman, sources said. 

The Trident requested the police incident report for the investigation on Sunday. The Sarasota City Attorney’s Office confirmed the existence of the report, but had not supplied it as of press time. 

There have been no charges filed in the case and the Trident is unaware whether the woman’s allegations have been substantiated. A voicemail was left with Mr. Ziegler for comment and a message was left at Bridget Ziegler’s school board office. Neither had been returned prior to publishing this story.  

The Zieglers are one of Florida’s top political power couples in the GOP. Christian Ziegler is a longtime Republican Party official who served as vice chairman of the state party prior to his election as chair in February. Prior to that he was a Sarasota County Commissioner who ran on a “family values” platform. 

Bridget Ziegler has become a star within the MAGA movement who was personally endorsed for her school board seat by Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, who also appointed her in March to the state board that oversees the special district previously overseen by Disney World prior to DeSantis’s politically motivated feud with the entertainment company. 

She is perhaps best known as the cofounder of the right-wing group Moms for Liberty and for  helping lay the groundwork for DeSantis’ Florida Parental Rights In Education Act (known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law). Ziegler has been a leading anti-trans activist and “critical race theory” opponent who has said her aim is to bring “religious values” into schools. 

“Bridget Ziegler, we should have her in every county in Florida,” DeSantis said in one speech. “We have to do a better job in these school board races.” 

She is currently a salaried vice president at the conservative Leadership Institute, which recently opened an office in Sarasota. At the Institute she oversees a school board training program that she said “teaches trains moms and dads how to run for school board, win, and then govern!”

This is a developing story that will be updated through the day. 

Florida Center for Government Accountability public access director Michael Barfield contributed to the reporting of this story.

About the Author: Bob Norman is an award-winning investigative reporter who serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Trident and journalism program director for the Florida Center for Government Accountability. He can be reached at [email protected]

This article first appeared on Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA) and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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