Friday, December 8, 2023

Happy Friday

Oh, Karma, never let me doubt your existence.

The right-wing nuts who run Ron DeSantis’s Florida Republican Party, wrote the “Don’t Say Gay” laws, and get books banned through the ironically-named “Moms for Liberty” are a bunch of horny toads.

Disclaimer: This story contains explicit sexual content and details involving an alleged sexual assault. 

Sarasota police have recovered a cell phone video taken by Florida GOP chairman Christian Ziegler of his sexual encounter with a woman who has alleged he raped her, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the criminal investigation.

That video, in addition to security surveillance video from the apartment complex where the woman lives, provided police investigators with graphic evidence of the October 2 sexual encounter between the two, which Ziegler has told police was consensual.

The apartment’s surveillance video, according to the sources, shows Ziegler knocking on the woman’s door and walking inside, which appears to contradict the woman’s claim to police that he walked into her apartment after she opened the door to walk her dog.

According to a police search warrant affidavit, Ziegler arrived alone at the apartment shortly after the woman backed out of a proposed tryst involving Ziegler and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, a Sarasota school board member and cofounder of Moms for Liberty.  “Sorry I was in mostly for her,” she messaged Ziegler (search warrant ).

He arrived at her apartment five minutes after receiving that message, according to the affidavit. Inside the apartment, Ziegler made a cell phone video of the sex act while she was bent over a piece of furniture in the bedroom, according to sources.

The video of the sex act is brief in duration and the victim can be heard telling Ziegler to climax in her mouth rather than on her new shirt, the sources said.

Ziegler and the woman can then be seen on surveillance video exiting the apartment together. While Ziegler leaves the apartment complex out a side door to his truck, the woman can be seen walking across the street to get food before returning to her apartment.

Bridget Ziegler told police that she and her husband had a previous three-way sexual encounter with the woman more than a year ago, according to the affidavit.

Attorney Adriana Alcalde, a former Florida sex crimes prosecutor who now represents victims in those cases, said the video evidence, if accurately described by the Florida Trident’s sources, could amount to an insurmountable obstacle to a successful verdict in the case.

“We would need to know more, but if the video shows even what appears to be consensual sex it will be very difficult to get past [for police and prosecutors],” said Alcalde, who practices in Florida and New York. “I think it could really damage the possibility of a conviction in a criminal case.”

The rape allegation has ignited a massive political firestorm around the couple, who have both espoused conservative “family values” in their political campaigns and taken stances viewed as anti-LGBTQ. Bridget Ziegler worked with Gov. Ron DeSantis in drafting the controversial Florida Parental Rights In Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay Act,” which prohibits discussion or instruction involving gender identity or sexual orientation in classrooms across the state.

DeSantis, who in February appointed Bridget Ziegler to the state-created board overseeing  development at Walt Disney World, has called for Christian Ziegler’s resignation in light of the police investigation, as have numerous other Florida Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who initially appointed Bridget Ziegler to the Sarasota school board in 2014.

Bridget Ziegler has resigned her job at the conservative Leadership Institute, where she worked to train conservatives in becoming school board activists. Fellow Sarasota County School Board members Tom Edwards, the lone Democrat on the board, and Karen Rose, a past Ziegler ally, have both called for her resignation from the board as well.

Christian Ziegler wrote in an email to state GOP officials that his family is “rock solid” and his wife is “behind me 150 percent” as the police investigation continues.

There’s more at the link.

Whatever two consenting adults do in private is fine with me, and I wouldn’t take it upon myself to impose my personal beliefs on others, or try to stop other people doing whatever gets them through the night.  But when you make a living doing it, not to mention imposing your beliefs through legislation that demonstrably deprives others of their rights to choose how to run your life, raise your family, or determine public school curriculum and then turn out to be exactly what you claim to hate, then you’re a flaming hypocrite and whatever Karma doles out to you is well-deserved.