Three months ago, Florida governor Ron DeSantis was slammed by backers of former U.S. president Donald Trump for his proximity to two donors who – in the immortal words of Ric Ocasek – “like the night life, baby.”
Remember that drama? It hinged around allegations that DeSantis campaign bundler Brooke Waltzer – a Florida real estate tycoon and wife of Sunshine State banker Rich Waltzer (another major DeSantis bundler) – hangs out with strippers. And may “swing” with her husband from time to time.
The goal of this “scandal” was to turn Christian voters in early-voting states against DeSantis – presumably part of an attempt to counter efforts by other candidates to turn them against Trump.
While the “DeStripper” controversy generated little more than an eye roll from our outlet, there’s a new sex scandal coming out of the Sunshine State that could cause additional drag on DeSantis’ sails.
At a time when he can least afford it …
According to Bob Norman of the Florida Center for Government Accountability – a progressive nonprofit – Florida’s GOP chairman, Christian Ziegler, is under “criminal investigation” after a woman filed a complaint with the Sarasota, Florida police department alleging that he raped her. This alleged sexual assault – referenced in a heavily redacted incident report – is said to have taken place on October 2, 2023 inside the woman’s Sarasota home.
What does this have to do with DeSantis?
It starts with a surprise plot twist: Prior to the alleged assault, Ziegler’s alleged victim claimed to have been part of a longstanding three-way sexual relationship with Ziegler and his wife, Sarasota County school board chairwoman (and Moms for Liberty co-founder) Bridget Ziegler.
Wow … is there something in the water in Florida, too?
I say “too” because I’m covering politics here in South Carolina – home to the “First in the South” presidential primary and a series of sordid political sex scandals (including a few I’ve had a front row seat for).
“The woman, according to sources close to the investigation, alleged that she and both Zieglers had been involved in a longstanding consensual three-way sexual relationship prior to the incident,” Norman reported. “The incident under investigation by Sarasota police occurred when Christian Ziegler and the woman were alone at the woman’s house, without Bridget Ziegler present.”
Norman went on to report that Christian Ziegler’s cell phone was obtained via a search warrant and that he is alleged to have “secretly videotaped the sexual encounters between the couple and the woman.”
(Click to view)
DeSantis has praised Bridget Ziegler in the past. In fact, her campaign website features an audio clip of his endorsement.
“Bridget Ziegler, we should have her in every county in Florida,” DeSantis said in the clip.
Bridget Ziegler is also one of the Mamas for DeSantis.
As for Christian Ziegler, he was elected to lead the Florida party in February of this year. Prior to that, he was a Sarasota County commissioner. According to his attorney, he was being “fully cooperative” with the investigation – which he predicted would end with Christian Ziegler being “completely exonerated.”
“Public figures are often accused of acts that they did not commit whether it be for political purposes or financial gain,” Christian Ziegler’s attorney said in the statement. “I would caution anyone to rush to judgment until the investigation is concluded.”
Obviously, that caution went undheeded … judgments were rushed. Immediately.
Florida’s Democratic leader Nikki Fried called on Christian Ziegler to resign as party chairman – even though he has yet to be charged in connection with the allegation, let alone convicted.
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“Allegations of rape and sexual battery are severe and should be taken seriously … I applaud the accuser’s bravery in coming forward against a political figure as powerful as Christian Ziegler, and I trust that the Sarasota Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation into these allegations of criminal behavior,” Fried said in a statement released Thursday.
“Christian Ziegler can’t possibly continue to lead the Florida GOP under these conditions. Given the severity of the criminal allegations, I’m calling for his immediate resignation,” Fried continued.
National media also moved to tar Moms for Liberty due to Bridget Ziegler’s alleged involvement in extramarital kink.
“The notion that one of its founders is involved in a ménage à trois — and that her husband may have assaulted their mutual partner — stands antithetical to the public face the organization attempts to present,” Nikki McCann Ramirez noted for Rolling Stone.
That’s true … but there’s a huge difference between consensual kink behind closed doors (which is all Bridget Ziegler has been accused of) and government subsidization of porn propaganda for children. Which reminds me: Ensuring taxpayers aren’t subsidizing adult material for children isn’t “banning books,” it’s simply requiring parents who want their kids consuming that stuff to pay for it themselves.
THE REPORT …
(Via: Sarasota Police)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.
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