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Background Briefing

Sarasota police clears Christian Ziegler after rape investigation

Written by on Friday, January 19, 2024

However, the State Attorney is now weighing a charge of ‘video voyeurism’, a felony.

By WSLR News staff

Original Air Date: Jan. 19, 2024

Host: The Florida Trident reported today that the Sarasota Police Department has closed the rape investigation of Christian Ziegler with no charges filed.

The Trident is the in-house publication of the Florida Center for Government Accountability, which broke the news in December that police was investigating the then-chair of the Florida Republican Party.

As in previous reporting, the Trident cited “sources with direct knowledge of the investigation”.

Ziegler had been under criminal investigation since October when a Sarasota woman alleged he sexually assaulted her in her apartment after she had earlier canceled a planned three-way encounter with Ziegler and his wife, Bridget.

Several hours after the Trident article, Sarasota Police issued a press release.

Christian Ziegler

“As a result of the lengthy investigation, Sarasota Police detectives found video evidence that on October 2nd, 2023, a sexual encounter occurred between the victim and Christian Ziegler,” the press release said. “Ziegler recorded the encounter on his cell phone. The video showed that the encounter was likely consensual. Therefore, detectives were unable to develop probable cause to charge Ziegler with Sexual Battery.”

However, it’s not over yet for Ziegler. The press release also said that the woman told investigators she had no idea he had recorded the act. That, in turn, prompted Sarasota Police investigators to prepare a probable cause affidavit for the felony crime of Video Voyeurism. They forwarded the case to the State Attorney’s Office for review.

The Republican Party last week ousted Christian as chair, but Bridget Ziegler continues to be a school board member, despite calls for her resignation.

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