Husband of Moms for Liberty co-founder won’t face charges over filming sex video

Christian Ziegler, the disgraced former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, will not face any criminal charges over allegations he filmed a sexual encounter without the party’s consent, the State Attorney’s Office has announced.

Christian Ziegler, husband of Bridget Ziegler, the co-founder of staunch right-wing group Moms for Liberty, was accused of raping a woman in a Sarasota apartment and filming the encounter without her knowledge or consent. He denied the accusations, saying the sexual activity was consensual, and police had already decided that he should not face sexual assault charges.

Now, prosecutor Ed Brodsky has also said there isn’t enough evidence to charge him over allegations relating to the videotaping of the encounter.

The scandal landed conservative couple Christian and Bridget Ziegler in hot water because it emerged that the woman making allegations against Christian Ziegler had been involved in a threesome with the couple, despite their anti-LGBTQ+ public stances.

A memo, first reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, said: “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 video in question was filmed without her knowledge or consent.”

The woman had no “financial, political, or malicious personal motivation” behind the allegations and did not seriously change her account throughout the investigation, it went on to say.

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“Inconsistencies in the victim’s account appear to be the result of substantial intoxication and trauma that the victim was experiencing, which is corroborated by the accounts of those who interacted and spoke with her in the immediate aftermath of the sexual encounter.”

Ziegler’s attorney, Derek Byrd, is quoted as saying his client was relieved to be cleared of the any wrongdoing.

“We co-operated at every stage of investigation and, as difficult as it was, we remained quiet out of respect for the investigation,” he continued.

“On day one, we said that Mr. Ziegler was completely innocent. We asked everyone not to rush to judgment, and reminded everyone to presume Mr. Ziegler innocent, as the constitution instructs. Unfortunately, many did not award that courtesy to Mr. Ziegler, damaging his family, career and reputation.”

When the allegations surfaced, the couple both faced calls to resign from their respective positions, with many labelling them hypocrites.

Christian Ziegler refused to step down as chairman of the Florida Republican Party and, in January, was removed by an “almost unanimous” vote, with sources telling NBC News that it was the “absolute right thing to do”.

At the same time, his wife faced calls to step away from her position on a school board in Florida.

During a meeting in December, activist Zander Moricz said: “Bridget Ziegler, you do not deserve to be on the Sarasota County school board. You do not deserve to be removed from it for having a threesome, you deserve to be fired because you are terrible at your job, not because you had sex with a woman.”

The following month, during the public comment section of a meeting, retired deputy superintendent of Maryland schools John Smeallie called her “a hypocrite of the worst order”, adding: “Despite your attacks on the LGTBQ+ community, it would appear that you are a part of it. Certainly a ‘B’, maybe a plus.”

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