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DeSantis calls on Florida GOP leader to step down amid investigation

Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Christian Ziegler, the chairperson of the Republican Party of Florida accused of sexual battery, should resi

“I’ve just seen him,” DeSantis told reporters Thursday night when asked about the allegation against Ziegler. DeSantis had just finished debating California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Georgia. “I don’t see how we can continue with that investigation ongoing given the gravity of those situations. And so I think that he should, I think he should step aside, I think he should tend to that.”

“He’s innocent till proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that is under that type of scrutiny,” DeSantis continued. “I hope the charges aren’t true. I’ve known him, I’ve known (Ziegler’s wife) Bridget, they’ve been friends. But the mission is more important.”

DeSantis said he only learned Thursday of the ongoing criminal investigation into Ziegler, which is being conducted by the Sarasota Police Department. The alleged incident happened in early October but was not publicly known until news outlets reported about it Thursday.

A transcript of DeSantis’ comments were provided to the Tampa Bay Times by his presidential campaign.

No charges have been filed in the case. Christian Ziegler’s attorney hassaid Zeigler is working with police and will be exonerated.

The accusations against Ziegler were first reported by the Florida Center for Government Accountability, which cited anonymous sources with knowledge of the investigation. According to the story, the woman who filed the complaint alleged that she had been in a long-term, consensual three-way relationship with Ziegler and his wife, Bridget. The Tampa Bay Times has not independently confirmed that information.

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