Christian Ziegler, the Florida GOP chair and husband to one of the founders of right-wing group Moms for Liberty, indicated this weekend he has no plans to resign despite pressure from party leadership amid a criminal sexual battery investigation.
“We have a country to save and I am not going to let false allegations of a crime put that mission on the bench as I wait for this process to wrap up,” Ziegler said in a Saturday email to party members, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Noting he was “a bit limited” in regards to what information he could share, Ziegler said he believed his role in the investigation was complete, “and I now wait for law enforcement to finish the police report.”
No charges have been filed against Ziegler, but the police investigation remained open as of Sunday night.
“My family is rock solid. My wife is behind me 150% and we have methods in place to protect our (three) children, just as we have with all previous attacks that we have faced,” Ziegler added, according to the Associated Press.
He also included in the body of the email an earlier statement by his lawyer, Derek Byrd, acknowledging the existence of a Sarasota Police Department affidavit that revealed details about the alleged assault on Oct. 2.
The affidavit identified Ziegler’s accuser as a woman with whom he and his wife had previously had a number of joint sexual encounters. The woman told Sarasota investigators that they’d arranged to have another three-way on Oct. 2, only for her to back out when she learned Bridget Ziegler couldn’t make the rendezvous. “Sorry I was mostly in for her,” the woman wrote in a message to Ziegler, according to ABC Action News, which obtained the redacted report.
Ziegler then showed up to the woman’s apartment uninvited and raped her, she told police.
“Mr. Ziegler has been fully cooperative with every request made by the Sarasota Police Department,” Byrd’s statement read. “We are confident that once the police investigation is concluded that no charges will be filed and Mr. Ziegler will be completely exonerated.”
Ziegler’s refusal to step down comes days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called for his resignation, saying he’d become a distraction.
“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,” DeSantis told reporters Thursday night. “He’s innocent till proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny.”