NATIONAL NEWS

Ousted Florida Republican chair cleared of rape allegation, but police seek video voyeurism charge

Jan 19, 2024, 12:47 PM

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 video recording the sexual encounter he had with a female acquaintance.

The Sarasota Police Department said in a statement that a review of a cellphone video Christian Ziegler made of the Oct. 2 encounter showed that it was “likely consensual,” making it impossible to charge him with rape. However, police said, the woman said she never consented to be video recorded and was unaware it had occurred.

Police said they asked the Sarasota County State Attorney’s Office on Friday to file video voyeurism charges against Ziegler, but that has not yet happened. Prosecutors did not immediately return a phone call Friday seeking comment. Under Florida law, video voyeurism is a third-degree felony that is punishable by five years in prison.

Zieg attorney, Derek Byrd, will be releasing a statement later Friday, Byrd’s assistant said.

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.

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Ousted Florida Republican chair cleared of rape allegation, but police seek video voyeurism charge