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Christian Ziegler under police investigation for sexual battery allegation

An investigation of Sarasota County Commissioner and Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler has been underway for nearly two months.

Christian Ziegler
Christian Ziegler
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An attorney representing Republican Party of Florida Chairman and Sarasota County State Committeeman Christian Ziegler has confirmed his client is under investigation by the Sarasota Police Department for an alleged sexual battery claim. 

The alleged incident occurred on Oct. 2, according to a police report, between Ziegler and a woman who, according to widespread reporting, claims to have been a consensual participant in a three-way relationship with Ziegler and his wife, Sarasota County School Board member and Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler. 

The police report was filed two days later on Oct. 4. 

The allegation against Ziegler became public when news outlets cited sources “close to the investigation.” The Observer does not rely on nor cite anonymous sources.

The nearly two-month-long investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed. The heavily redacted police report suggests the alleged incident occurred in the woman’s home, and among the few words not redacted are “the sexual assault complaint,” “the sexual assault allegation,” “had been sexually battered” and “raped.” All names were redacted. 

Sarasota attorney Derek Byrd confirmed that Ziegler is the focus of SPD’s investigation.

“We acknowledge the reports that there is an investigation being conducted by the Sarasota Police Department regarding Mr. Ziegler,” Byrd wrote in a statement. "Mr. Ziegler has been fully cooperative with every request made by the Sarasota Police Department. We are confident that once the police investigation is concluded that no charges will be filed and Mr. Ziegler will be completely exonerated.”

The Sarasota County GOP, though, wasted little time in weighing in on the allegations once becoming public.

“We are shocked and disappointed to hear of the reports concerning Republican Party of Florida Chair and Sarasota County State Committeeman Christian Ziegler, and his wife, Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler,” the organization wrote in a statement. “The Republican Party takes all such allegations of potential criminal conduct very seriously and will fully cooperate with investigators.”

Christian Ziegler was a Sarasota County commissioner from 2018 to 2022 and did not seek reelection. Bridget Ziegler has been a member of the Sarasota County School Board since 2014, her current term expiring in November 2026.

Since the first leak of the investigation, reporting has been widespread in newspapers across the country from the Miami Herald to the Washington Post, in addition to major news networks and news websites. As a Florida GOP power couple, Byrd hinted the allegations may be political in nature.

“Unfortunately, public figures are often accused of acts that they did not commit whether it be for political purposes or financial gain,” Byrd said. "I would caution anyone to rush to judgment until the investigation is concluded.”



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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