Accused rapist Christian Ziegler has requested a multi-million-dollar buyout in exchange for stepping down from his position as chair of Florida’s Republican Party, Florida Politics reports.
Last month, Ziegler was accused of sexually assaulting a woman involved in a long-term ménage à trois between himself and his wife, Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler. According to a police complaint obtained by The Florida Trident, and sources who spoke to the outlet, the woman alleges that Christian Ziegler raped her on Oct. 2 while the pair were alone in her home in Sarasota, Florida. The woman told police that she had initially agreed to a sexual encounter with the couple but backed out after learning that Bridget Ziegler would not be participating. Christian Ziegler allegedly showed up at the woman’s residence uninvited and assaulted her. Ziegler has yet to be charged with a criminal offense and denies the allegations of assault despite admitting to police that the two had had sex.
Earlier this month, the Republican Party of Florida called an emergency meeting to discuss Ziegler’s future as party chair. According to a report from The Miami Herald, which obtained a memo from State GOP Vice Chairman Evan Powers, the party’s executive board is considering “censure or discipline” against Ziegler, including the possibility of expulsion from his office. The meeting is due to take place on Dec. 17, and Ziegler has so far declined to attend.
Florida Politics now reports that Ziegler has asked for a massive buyout from the Florida GOP in exchange for his resignation, with one source indicating a requested sum of $2 million. One party official told the outlet that they are in no position to offer Ziegler any sort of payment, and another doubted that the executive board would entertain a buyout given they are already moving to discipline Ziegler.
Despite not being directly involved in the criminal investigation, Bridget Ziegler is also experiencing the blowback of the allegations against her husband. At least one Moms For Liberty chapter has broken with the national organization as a result of the allegations. On Tuesday, the Sarasota County, Florida, school board passed a resolution calling for Mrs. Ziegler to resign from her position as a board member.
“It’s not about the left; it’s not about the right, it’s about students,” board Chairwoman Karen Rose said before the vote on the resolution, which stated that Mrs. Ziegler’s continued presence on the board would “cause an irreparably harmful distraction to the school board’s ability to fulfill its critical constitutional mission.”
The resolution is not binding, and Mrs. Ziegler is refusing to step down. School board members cannot be forcibly removed from their post without a direct order from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and while the governor has not commented on Mrs. Ziegler’s position, he has made clear his belief that her husband should no longer serve as chair of Florida’s GOP.
“I think he should step aside and think he should attend to that,” DeSantis told ABC News last month. “He’s innocent until proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny.”