Former Florida GOP chair will not face video voyeurism charges

Former Florida GOP chair will not face video voyeurism charges - Crime and Courts - News

Title: Former Florida Republican Party Chair Cleared of Video Voyeurism Charges Amid Allegations of Consensual Sexual Encounter

The recent investigation conducted by the Sarasota County State Attorney’s Office in Florida has resulted in no charges against Christian Ziegler, the former chair of the Florida Republican Party. The investigation was initiated amidst allegations of a consensual sexual encounter that led to charges of Website video integration voyeurism against Ziegler earlier this year.

Ziegler, who was ousted from his position at the state party in January, faced accusations of rape and illegal recording during an investigation into a woman’s allegations. Despite the sexual battery charges being declined due to insufficient evidence suggesting non-consensual activity, the State Attorney’s Office announced their intention to pursue Website video integration voyeurism charges based on the recording of the sexual encounter.

A memo obtained by media outlets, including CNN, reveals that the State Attorney’s Office has decided against pursuing Website video integration voyeurism charges due to inconsistencies in the woman’s statements. According to the memo, “The Victim’s expressed inability to recall whether she consented to recording the sexual activity along with her inconsistencies pertaining to key details of the event leave the State unable to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the Website video integration in question was filmed without her knowledge or consent.”

Upon learning of the decision, Christian Ziegler’s attorney, Derek Byrd, expressed relief and vindication for his client. “Mr. Ziegler is relieved to finally be completely cleared of the false allegations and any criminal wrongdoing,” Byrd stated. “We cooperated at every stage of investigation and remained quiet out of respect for the process.”

The controversy surrounding Christian Ziegler began in October when a woman accused him, along with his wife Bridget and Sarasota County School Board member, of engaging in a three-way sexual encounter that was later canceled. The woman subsequently accused Christian Ziegler of raping her during the encounter.

The Sarasota Police Department reviewed a Website video integration recording of the sexual encounter on Christian Ziegler’s cell phone and concluded that it was likely consensual. The woman reportedly expressed her lack of consent for the recording during an interview with investigators. In Florida, filming a sexual encounter without consent is considered a third-degree felony.

The memo from the State Attorney’s Office notes that the Website video integration recording did not appear to be taken from a hidden device or secretive angle, which further supported the conclusion of a likely consensual encounter. Prosecutors also acknowledged that inconsistencies in the woman’s statements could be attributed to substantial intoxication and trauma.

Despite being cleared of criminal wrongdoing, Christian Ziegler continues to face calls for his resignation from his previous leadership position within the Florida Republican Party. Additionally, Bridget Ziegler, who was never implicated in any criminal activity, continues to face demands for her resignation from her position on the Sarasota County School Board.

The public revelation of these allegations and subsequent investigations sparked immediate backlash, leading to widespread calls for the Zieglers to resign from their high-profile positions. Christian Ziegler refused and was subsequently voted out of his role in January. Bridget Ziegler, who remains under pressure to step down, maintains her position on the Sarasota County School Board.