Folks, They Found the Tape

Annals of the Florida GOP's Top Threesoming Power Couple
KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2023/11/04: Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler addresses attendees at the Florida Freedom Summit at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee. Ziegler is under criminal investigati... KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2023/11/04: Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler addresses attendees at the Florida Freedom Summit at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee. Ziegler is under criminal investigation for allegations related to sexual battery, including rape, according to a complaint released on November 30, 2023 which was filed with the Sarasota Police Department. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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We have a new development in the case of the Zieglers, the power couple from the Superfreak faction of the Florida GOP. Initial reports noted that Christian Ziegler claimed he had videotaped the sexual encounter which his unnamed accuser later alleged was rape. He said he taped it; deleted it; then finally uploaded it to Google Drive. A kind of odd chain of events. But that was his story. The first reports said police hadn’t been able to find it.

Now they’ve found it.

The gist is that the tape may make it impossible to convict Ziegler of a crime. If that’s true, it probably means they will never bring charges, which would take the whole story and the Florida GOP effort to send Ziegler packing much more protracted. I want to be very precise about what the latest report from The Trident says and what it doesn’t say. And bear in mind we’re talking about how “two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation” describe the tape. We have to leave open the possibility that there are subjective or subtle aspects of what’s captured on the tape that isn’t coming through in these indirect accounts.

With that said, here’s the description …

He arrived at her apartment five minutes after receiving that message, according to the affidavit. Inside the apartment, Ziegler made a cell phone video of the sex act while she was bent over a piece of furniture in the bedroom, according to sources. 

The video of the sex act is brief in duration and the victim can be heard telling Ziegler to climax in her mouth rather than on her new shirt, the sources said. 

Ziegler and the woman can then be seen on surveillance video exiting the apartment together. While Ziegler leaves the apartment complex out a side door to his truck, the woman can be seen walking across the street to get food before returning to her apartment. 

Assuming this a generally accurate account of the video, it certainly doesn’t prove that the encounter was consensual. But it appears to be at least consistent with the consensual encounter Ziegler claims he had. In a reasonable doubt context that’s probably all Ziegler needs. The Trident spoke to Adriana Alcalde, a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents victims. Alcade told The Trident that if this description is broadly accurate it could make a conviction impossible.

We don’t have enough information here to speculate about whether Ziegler is guilty or wrongly accused. But it now seems less likely that Ziegler will be charged with a crime. He had already been adamantly refusing the almost universal demands for his resignation from top Florida Republicans. Now he’ll be able to say that the whole thing was a false accusation and a frame up. The rape accusation was the only thing that made it anybody’s business but his own and his wife’s. So shut up and move on, basically. Unsurprisingly Ziegler seems very much in the Trump mode of never apologize and never surrender.

That’s the good news for the Zieglers. On the other hand, his anti-gay, anti-trans crusading wife has been revealed as someone who has sex with other women and Christian Ziegler’s on his high horse because he says he was falsely accused of rape and his evidence is … well, it’s one of his sex tapes, of which presumably there are many. So you can’t really say things are rosy or that there’s really any way to unring this bell. It’s kind of the worst case scenario for the state GOP. The state party is run by one half of Florida’s new top freaky power couple. But they’ve likely lost their strongest argument for canning him.

Other details in the police reports suggest this tryst wasn’t just a one time walk on the wild side by an open minded couple but more like a regular activity. The day of the videotaped sexual encounter started at 7:29 AM when Christian Ziegler texted the unidentified woman that he and Bridget were in their car together and wanted to know if they could come over for a threesome. He asked for her address.

There are also details scattered across the various accounts which suggest the accuser was in a vulnerable state at the time this happened. The accuser later told police she was in no state to consent to sex because she’d home all day drinking Tequilla. When a coworker called police two days after the alleged rape to do a wellness check on the accuser, the caller told the dispatcher “that the woman had been falling deeper into drug addiction in recent weeks.”

It’s hard to draw too firm of conclusions based on limited information. But whether or not Christian Ziegler committed a crime, it certainly seems like he and Bridget Ziegler were dealing with a woman who was in a pretty vulnerable state … and in a cold-text her when you’re both in the car and up for a good time kind of way.

As I said, a perfect storm for the state party: big drama, at best terrible judgment, top candidates to be admitted to the new Miami swingers’ club and yet much less grounds for the state GOP to fire them.

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