Grand jury indicts Minn. GOP operative on youngster intercourse trafficking fees

Current: Aug. 13, 8:42 a.m. | Posted: Aug. 12, 4:11 p.m.

A federal grand jury in Minnesota has indicted Republican political operative Anton J. Lazzaro on baby sexual intercourse trafficking rates.

Political operative Anton J. Lazzaro is staying held in the Sherburne County Jail on youngster sexual intercourse trafficking rates.

Sherburne County Jail

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Workplace allege that Lazzaro, 30, conspired with many others to recruit and solicit six folks below the age of 18 to engage in industrial sexual intercourse among May well and December of 2020.

The indictment, unsealed Thursday, expenses Lazzaro with five counts of sex trafficking of minors, one rely of tried intercourse trafficking of a minimal, a single rely of conspiracy to dedicate sexual intercourse trafficking of minors and three counts of obstruction.

The identify of a 2nd man or woman stated in the indictment is redacted.

A decide purchased Lazzaro jailed pending a detention listening to next Monday. He’s remaining held in the Sherburne County Jail.

In a assertion, protection legal professional Zachary Newland said Lazzaro is being falsely accused and did not commit the crimes he’s charged with.

The FBI Minneapolis division stated in a tweet Thursday there may well be additional alleged victims, and any person with data must contact investigators at 763-569-8000.

The indictment orders Lazzaro to forfeit $371,240 seized from his dwelling in downtown Minneapolis, as very well as the condo alone, a 2010 Ferrari convertible, moreover 13 cell telephones, 6 computers and other electronic merchandise.

Lazzaro has strong connections to well known Minnesota Republicans and managed the campaign of Republican Lacy Johnson, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat DFL U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar previous year.

In a Facebook publish, Johnson mentioned he was “shocked and disgusted in excess of the allegations.”

“I was not knowledgeable that any investigation was underway until eventually contacted by the push nor was I aware of any behavior that led to the criticism,” he posted.

“Neither I nor my congressional campaign business have been contacted by authorities about this matter. I absolutely assistance vigorous enforcement of human trafficking legal guidelines. This make any difference is now in the fingers of the courts. May justice be served.”

Shots posted by Rep. Jim Hagedorn on social media exhibit the two at Minnesota Vikings online games, along with the congressman’s spouse, Minnesota Republican Social gathering Chair Jennifer Carnahan.

Lazzaro and Carnahan also shared a political podcast. Lazzaro was element of the workforce that assisted Carnahan initial win her placement at the condition social gathering in 2017.

“If the allegations in opposition to Mr. Anton Lazzaro are true, this is an abhorrent act that we condemn in the highest attainable phrases,” she mentioned in a statement on behalf of the get together.

“The Republican Occasion of Minnesota will be donating the contributions that Mr. Lazzaro has offered our organization to charity.”

Hagedorn did not react to requests for comment from MPR Information.

According to his website, Lazzaro is the founder of the Significant Tent Republicans political motion committee, which aims to broaden the party’s enchantment.

Photographs on Lazzaro’s Fb and Twitter accounts demonstrate that he generally rubbed elbows with the powerful, such as former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio amid them. 

Republicans donate Lazzaro contributions

Lazzaro was a hefty donor to Republican Occasion organizations and candidates.

Since 2014, he contributed more than $78,000 at the state amount, considerably of which went to the Minnesota party, but also to major candidates for business office. On the federal degree, his nearly $36,000 in donations more than the similar period went mainly to Hagedorn or political corporations aligned with him. U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer’s campaign also received a major look at from Lazzaro.

Emmer, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee that performs to elect Republicans, mentioned Thursday the “news is deeply disturbing” and that he divided the amount of money of the donation from Lazzaro among two shelter corporations, Alexandra House in Blaine and Anna Marie’s Alliance in St. Cloud.

Minnesota Legal professional General candidate Doug Wardlow said in a assertion he was rerouting the funds he been given from Lazzaro to a group aimed at combatting sexual exploitation.

Condition Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater, said in a assertion on social media Thursday that the “allegations are disturbing and troubling and they make my heart ache for the victims of these kinds of a horrifying crime.” Housley said she would make a contribution in the exact amount of money of Lazzaro’s donation to the Women’s Basis of Minnesota, for its anti-trafficking efforts.

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