No video voyeurism charge for ousted Florida GOP chair, previously cleared in rape case

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The ousted former chair of the Republican Party of Florida will not face a video voyeurism charge for recording a sexual encounter with a woman who accused him of rape, a case in which he was also not charged, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The woman made inconsistent statements about whether or not she consented to the video made by Christian Ziegler during the October encounter at her home, prosecutors said in a memo. A crime could be committed if there was sufficient evidence the video was made without her knowledge and consent.

The woman told investigators that “she could have consented to the video being taken — she is simply unable to recall one way or the other,” the memo said.

Ziegler maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, his attorney Derek Byrd said in an email.

“Mr. Ziegler is relieved to be completely cleared of the false allegations and any criminal wrongdoing. We cooperated at every stage of investigation and as difficult as it was, we remained quiet out of respect for the investigation,” Byrd said.

Ziegler, 40, previously admitted having sex with the woman but insisted it was consensual. 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 recent planned encounter but that her husband went to the accuser’s apartment alone.

Bridget Ziegler is a prominent conservative who co-founded the Moms for Liberty organization and is also an elected member of the Sarasota County school board. She was also appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the board that now oversees Walt Disney World’s land development.

The controversy led the state Republican Party to remove Ziegler as chair in January. There have also been efforts in Sarasota to force Bridget Ziegler from the school board, but she has refused to resign.