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Florida GOP chair accused of sexual battery; attorney says he’ll be exonerated

The Sarasota Police Department is investigating a sexual battery allegation against Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, a political bombshell in the home state of former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The USA TODAY Network – Florida requested documents from the Sarasota Police Department mentioning Ziegler, and the agency produced heavily redacted reports from an officer who responded to the initial complaint and a detective. The records note that the case is an “active criminal investigation.”

The detective’s report states that the individual reported being “sexually battered” at home in Sarasota on Oct. 2. The report again mentions a “sexual assault allegation” and “sexual assault complaint” but has no other information.

The synopsis from the responding officer also is almost entirely redacted. Only five words aren’t blacked out in the narrative. They are: “stated… raped… stated that… raped.”

Ziegler’s attorney, Derek Byrd, said he is confident his client “will be completely exonerated” and said he as been “fully cooperative with every request made by the Sarasota Police Department.”

The Florida Center for Government Accountability’s Trident publication first reported on the allegations against Ziegler.

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