There’s a lot going on here, so bear with me.
The Florida Center for Government Accountability news outlet, the Florida Trident, published a story this afternoon about a sexual assault allegation against the chair of the Florida GOP, based on information obtained from a heavily redacted police report and anonymous sources close to the investigation. Shortly after the story was published, the Sarasota Police Department released a copy of the report as well.
The details of the alleged sexual assault are disturbing on their face and made even more insane by how deeply intertwined the characters involved are in not just Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political circle, but the MAGA movement as well.
Christian Ziegler is the chairman of the Florida Republican Party and is married to Sarasota County School Board member and Moms For Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler. Bridget Ziegler has close ties to DeSantis, who personally endorsed her school board run. The Florida Trident described the pair as “one of Florida’s top political power couples in the GOP.”
That “power couple” reportedly has a third member — a woman who has been engaged in a “longstanding,” in the Trident’s words, threesome sexual relationship with the couple, and who filed a police report early last month accusing Christian Ziegler of raping her.
Christian Ziegler is now reportedly under criminal investigation for the alleged assault, which took place on October 2, per the redacted police report that was filed on October 4. Sources close to the investigation told the Trident that the alleged incident occurred at the woman’s house. Christian Ziegler was reportedly alone with the woman and Bridget Ziegler was not present at the time. Per the Trident:
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.
No charges have been filed and Christian Ziegler’s attorney Derek Byrd put out a statement after the Trident piece was published saying his client would be “completely exonerated.”
The Trident unpacks the pair’s ties to DeSantis, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida and the broader “family values” policy position that has been wholeheartedly embraced by DeSantis, the Florida GOP and many other Republicans across the nation. You should read their full scoop here.
The Best Of TPM Today
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What We Are Reading
The surprising dating life of Henry Kissinger, a West Wing ‘playboy’ — Washington Post