Friday, May 24, 2024

An affidavit from state authorities is fueling turmoil within the Florida Republican Party with details of a sexual assault allegation against the chairman, Christian Ziegler.

The affidavit states that a woman accused Ziegler of assaulting her in her apartment in October. It was filed in Florida court to obtain access to electronic communications and recordings on Ziegler’s Google account.

A spokeswoman for the Sarasota, Fla., Police Department confirmed that there was an “active investigation” involving Ziegler. No charges have been filed against him, and he has denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer, Derek Byrd, who did not respond for a request for comment.

The affidavit reveals that the woman and Ziegler had known each other for 20 years and had agreed to a sexual encounter on Oct. 2. The woman claimed she canceled with Ziegler when his wife, Bridget Ziegler, would not be present, but Ziegler showed up at her apartment uninvited and assaulted her.

Ziegler told authorities that the encounter was consensual. However, no video of it could be located, and a search warrant has been issued to Google. Details from the affidavit were first reported by the Florida Center for Government Accountability and later obtained by The New York Times.

The woman reported the assault on Oct. 4 and was treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, according to the affidavit.

Recorded phone calls between the woman and Ziegler are also included in the affidavit, in which she accused him of assault, to which he denied the accusation.

Governor Ron DeSantis called on Ziegler to resign, citing the gravity of the situation. Ziegler, on the other hand, has refused to step aside, attributing the allegations to liberal activists and stating that he has the full support of his wife.

Ziegler was elected chairman this year and was seen as the choice of former President Donald J. Trump’s allies. The Zieglers are considered a powerful political couple in Florida, particularly in the Sarasota area.

Patricia Mazzei and Nicholas Nehamas contributed reporting.

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