U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz won’t join calls for Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler to resign.
“Given my experience I tend to wait for the facts to come out before rendering judgment,” the Fort Walton Beach Republican told Florida Politics.
A Sarasota woman has accused Ziegler of rape. The state party Chair remains under active criminal investigation but to date faces no charges.
A search warrant shows Sarasota Police have footage of Ziegler showing up at the accuser’s apartment, where she told police he came in and forced her to have sex with him. Ziegler’s wife, School Board member Bridget Ziegler, acknowledged to police that she had been involved with a sexual encounter involving the woman and her husband a year prior to the alleged incident.
Christian Ziegler to date has rebuffed calls for his resignation, including by Florida Republican leaders including Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Florida House Speaker Paul Renner.
Of course, Gaetz has a history of surviving embarrassing sex scandals that once bore the threat of criminal prosecution.
In 2021, news broke that federal prosecutors were targeting Gaetz in a sex trafficking case, stemming from an investigation of former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg. Gaetz denied allegations he knowingly transported a minor across state lines to have sex with him.
A House Ethics Committee investigation involving the allegations is ongoing. But federal prosecutors in February told Gaetz they had concluded their investigation and would not charge the Congressman with any crimes.
An attorney for Ziegler has said any investigation should exonerate Ziegler of any criminal wrongdoing.
“Unfortunately, public figures are often accused of acts that they did not commit whether it be for political purposes or financial gain,” said attorney Derek Byrd. “I would caution anyone to rush to judgment until the investigation is concluded.”
Florida Politics has reached out to all Republicans in the Florida congressional delegation. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican and co-chair of the delegation, declined to comment. Notably, Ziegler previously worked on Buchanan’s campaign and House staff.