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Florida GOP chairman's hunt for a threesome results in sexual assault allegation

Christian and Bridget Ziegler
Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler has been accused of rape by a woman who was involved in a three-way sexual encounter with Ziegler and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, the co-founder of Moms for Liberty.Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call and Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • GOP power couple Christian and Bridget Ziegler have been celebrated for their pro-family values.

  • But a recent rape allegation against Christian Ziegler undermines the principles they tout.

  • A search warrant revealed the couple previously had a threesome with the woman.

Scathing details of a rape allegation against Christian Ziegler, the Florida GOP chairman who has become an influential figure in the modern conservative movement, clash with the pro-family, Christian values that Ziegler and his Moms for Liberty cofounder wife, Bridget, have been praised for.

A heavily redacted report from the Sarasota Police Department published by the Florida Center for Government Accountability revealed that Ziegler is under an active criminal investigation involving "rape" and a "sexual assault allegation" that occurred on October 2.

A search warrant affidavit obtained by the same watchdog group additionally showed that Ziegler and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, cofounder of the conservative "parental rights" group Moms for Liberty, had a three-way sexual encounter with the woman accusing the state GOP chairman of rape.

The affidavit stated that the woman and Bridget Ziegler both individually told police they had a three-way sexual encounter with Christian Ziegler more than a year before the alleged October incident, according to the watchdog group.

The Zieglers made another plan to have sex on October 2, according to the affidavit, but the woman canceled the arrangement after she learned that Bridget Ziegler could not make it, The Washington Post reported.

"Sorry I was mostly in for her," she said in a message, according to the affidavit.

Christian Ziegler, however, still showed up at the woman's apartment and raped her, the woman told Sarasota police, according to the Post.

Bridget Ziegler's apparent admission of having a three-way sexual encounter with another woman represents a stark contrast with her crusade to implement Florida's so-called "Don't Say Gay" law that has been expanded to restrict classroom instruction on LGTBQ+ topics for K-12 — a bill that opponents say will only encourage a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ students.

Meanwhile, the rape allegation against Christian Ziegler is a profound step away from the "pro-family" values his supporters have celebrated him for.

An attorney for Christian Ziegler did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent during the weekend.

A GOP power couple

Florida GOP chairman Christian Ziegler shakes hand with Donald Trump.
Florida GOP chairman Christian Ziegler greets former president Donald Trump at the Republican Party of Florida Freedom Summit.Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Republican colleagues have praised the Zieglers for being "principled" conservatives as they've quickly climbed the political ladder in recent years.

A few years ago, Christian Ziegler was a little-known Sarasota County commissioner who ran on a platform emphasizing low local taxes and pro-business values. Sen. Rick Scott, Florida's then-governor, endorsed Ziegler, describing him as a "life-long principled conservative," according to Florida Politics.

A spokesperson for Scott could not provide a statement before the time of this story's publishing.

In February 2023, Ziegler was elected chairman of the state Republican Party.

John Stemberger, an evangelical leader and president of Florida Family Action, which promotes conservative family values and has led efforts against same-sex marriage, endorsed Ziegler for the position in December 2022.

"I wholeheartedly endorse Christian Ziegler. He is a pro-life, pro-family and strong social conservative," Stemberger said in a statement that has since been removed from the Florida Family Action website. Business Insider viewed a cached version of the page.

A spokesperson for Florida Family Action did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent during the weekend.

A school board mom's rise to prominence

Similarly, Ziegler's wife gained prominence in 2021 for her role in co-founding Moms for Liberty, which began in Florida and has since gained national traction. The organization has been focused on shaping local school boards across the US by supporting conservative candidates who oppose discussions of LGBTQ+ rights, gender and sexuality, critical race theory, and discrimination in schools.

The group has also been leading a nationwide crusade to ban school library books that touch on LGBTQ+ subjects. The organization's influence, however, was recently rebuked by voters in Iowa as only one of 13 candidates endorsed by Moms for Liberty won a local election.

Bridget Ziegler left the organization in late 2021. Still, she was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to a seat on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board, the special taxing district that manages Disney World. DeSantis also took the unusual step of endorsing her for reelection in 2022 on the Sarasota County School Board.

"We need (school board members) like Bridget Ziegler, we should have her in every county," DeSantis said at a dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Sarasota in 2021.

However, recent allegations against Christian Ziegler have some Republicans stepping back their support for the GOP power couple and questioning their adherence to conservative values.

DeSantis told reporters after his debate with California Gov. Gavin Newsom that Christian Zeigler should step down from his position.

"I don't see how he can continue with that investigation ongoing given the gravity of those situations, and so I think that he should, I think he should step aside," the governor said.

Florida Rep. Spencer Roach told the Post that the allegations are "an absolute body blow to the Republican Party" and go against the principles the couple represented.

"They have held themselves out to be paragons of the Christian conservative family values, a prototype," Roach told the Post. "And I think there's a very heavy sense of betrayal, certainly within the Republican Party."

The Zieglers did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent during the weekend.

The embattled Florida GOP chairman said in a statement sent to state Republicans on Saturday that he would not resign over the allegations and that he and his wife are being targeted because they are "such loud political voices," The Associated Press reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider