The investigation into the rape allegations of a Florida GOP chairman has expanded further into whether he also engaged in video surveillance.
A new search warrant affidavit filed by a detective with the Sarasota Police Department obtained by Business Insider shows that chairman Christian Ziegler is now being investigated for the “crime of Video Voyeurism”.
Mr Ziegler was initially under police scrutiny after he was accused of raping a woman with whom he and his wife Bridget Ziegler, the co-founder of the right-wing, anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty, allegedly had a long-term consensual relationship. .
The charges were unsealed in October, alleging he entered the woman's home on Oct. 2 and raped her when she refused to have sex with him without his wife present, an affidavit released to the The independent he said.
The first affidavit alleges that Mr. Ziegler told detectives that the encounter was consensual and that he filmed it but deleted the video when the allegations emerged.
Now, it appears that investigators are looking further into the allegations in the video recording, according to the newly unsealed affidavit filed on December 11.
The affidavit describes that Mr. Ziegler violated laws against video voyeurism by filming the sexual intercourse without the woman's consent.
Mr. Ziegler allegedly showed investigators a two-and-a-half-minute video of the intercourse, according to the affidavit obtained by the agency.
Investigators continued to question the victim and Ms. Ziegler about the video, both of whom claimed they did not know about the video and had not seen it.
“The victim did not consent to Ziegler taking this video of them having sex,” the affidavit allegedly stated.
In an interview with investigators when the allegations became public, Ms. Ziegler told police that she and her husband had consensual sex with the accuser about a year before the October incident.
The affidavit believes Mr. Ziegler used Instagram to commit Video Voyeurism and is seeking access to the GOP chairman's Instagram account to find “additional information about his criminal activity,” the affidavit said.
Video voyeurism in Florida is a third-degree felony of surreptitiously recording someone for “one's own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of humiliating or abusing another person” in a situation where a person “has a reasonable expectation of privacy ,” according to Florida statute.
This crime carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
So far no charges have been brought against Mr. Ziegler, but he has already seen damage to his reputation and political career.
The Florida Republican Party cut his salary to $1 in hopes that he would step down as chairman, but he hasn't yet.
A Jan. 8 meeting between the board of directors is expected to remove him from his former position, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
The president's wife also voted to be removed from the Sarasota County School Board by a vote of 4 to 1, with only Ms. Zieger herself in opposition.
The power couple has been influential in Florida, often promoting their commitment to “family values” while running for office.
Ms Zieger co-founded the ‘parental rights' group Moms for Liberty, which seeks to combat ‘gender ideology' and ‘critical race theory', arguing that LGBTQ+ discourse should not be discussed in schools.
The independent Mr. Ziegler was contacted for comment.