Police have recovered a sex video with Sarasota School Board member Bridget Ziegler, sources say

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Bridget Ziegler
Bridget Ziegler via Sarasota School Board live stream. By: Josh Holton (12/13/2023)

by Michael Barfield, Florida Center for Government Accountability (FLCGA)

A sex video involving Sarasota School Board member Bridget Ziegler and an unidentified woman has been recovered by police as part of the ongoing criminal investigation of a rape allegation made against Bridget’s husband, Christian Ziegler, sources close to the investigation have told the Florida Trident.

In response to a specific public record request for that video, the Sarasota Police Department on Thursday asserted the video was exempt from disclosure due to the ongoing criminal investigation.

The video, according to sources, was obtained by police after a search warrant was executed on Christian Ziegler’s cell phone and Google account in November to recover evidence in connection with the alleged rape. 

According to an affidavit filed by Sarasota police Det. Angela Cox, Christian Ziegler admitted to police he recorded the incident that led to the rape allegation, a video police also recovered in the investigation. Bridget Ziegler told investigators she and her husband had a joint sexual encounter with the same woman more than a year ago, according to the affidavit.  

A second video has been recovered by police showing Bridget Ziegler, a cofounder of the conservative Moms for Liberty, engaging in sexual relations with a woman, sources said. It is not known if the woman in the video is the same woman who has alleged she was sexually assaulted by Christian Ziegler. Neither Christian nor Bridget Ziegler have responded to requests for comment from the Trident

It was on October 2 that, according to the police affidavit, a tryst was planned with both Zieglers and the woman. The woman canceled the planned encounter after learning Bridget Ziegler was no longer available to attend. “Sorry I was mostly in for her,” the woman wrote in a message.

Christian Ziegler then went to the woman’s apartment, gained entry, and, according to the woman, raped her. The Trident has learned the video Ziegler took of that encounter may bolster his claim that the sexual encounter was consensual. No arrest has been made and the criminal investigation continues.

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

The embattled Christian Ziegler continues to hold the title of Florida GOP chair but was stripped of his authority and his $120,000 salary by the executive committee last Sunday. The committee also voted unanimously to urge Ziegler to resign, following the lead of numerous Republican leaders across the state – including Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, Congressman Vern Buchanan and Congressman Matt Gaetz. To date, Ziegler has resisted those efforts.

The Sarasota County School Board voted 4-1 to request Bridget Ziegler resign from the board. Ziegler was the only board member to vote no. Bridget has also refused to resign and DeSantis, who endorsed her in last year’s school board election, hasn’t moved to remove her from the school board. Bridget Ziegler also continues to serve as a DeSantis appointee on the Central Florida Tourism Board, the Disney oversight board

Numerous citizens spoke at last week’s packed school board meeting against Bridget Ziegler, many of them claiming the revelations of the police investigation exposed hypocrisy in her anti-LGBTQ efforts. 

“Bridget and Christian Ziegler have stepped on the backs of marginalized communities across Florida,” said Nicholas Mechuka, of Equality Florida, at the meeting. “They have demonized people, Bridget Ziegler is an architect of Moms for Liberty. It is not a grassroots movement. It is a cynical sick tool hatched by the Zieglers to sell fear and division for political gain.”

“You have emotionally and psychologically damaged countless students, parents, and teachers with your hateful rhetoric,” resident Steve Russell told Bridget Ziegler. “Resign.”

About the Author: Michael Barfield focuses on the enforcement of open government laws. He serves as lead investigator for the Florida Trident and FLCGA’s director of public access. Michael regularly assists journalists across the country with collecting information and publishing news reports obtained from public records and other sources. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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

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