GOP donor Anton Lazzaro sentenced to 21 years for sex trafficking minors

Former President Donald Trump consorted with GOP donor Anton Lazzaro, who was convicted of sex trafficking multiple underage girls.

A GOP megadonor in Minneapolis has been sentenced to 252 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for orchestrating a sex trafficking conspiracy in which he gave multiple teenage girls gifts, alcohol, and money in exchange for sex.

Minnesota GOP strategist and donor Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, 32, was arrested in August 2021, on sex trafficking charges along with the leader of the University of St. Thomas chapter of the Minnesota College Republicans.

After the arrests, Minnesota College Republicans state chair Nia Moore issued a statement saying, “We as an organization are absolutely disgusted by the actions of Ms. Medina, and have cut all ties with her effective immediately.”

“Former President Donald Trump consorted with Tony Lazzaro, who was convicted of sex trafficking multiple underage girls, just as he had partied with Jeffrey Epstein and Giselle Maxwell,” said Lisa McCormick, a progressive Democrat from New Jersey who has accused Republicans of hypocrisy for pushing puritanical policies while personally engaging in promiscuity.

“Lazzaro was not only a predatory sex trafficker but he was a ‘sugar daddy’ to a long list of Republican politicians who continue to screw the country in exchange for his dirty money,” said McCormick. “This scandal highlights a pervasive problem in America that has corrupted both parties, so I am once again calling on Congress to outlaw bribery.”

Former President Trump and his future wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, are seen with Jeffrey Epstein and Giselle Maxwell at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida.
Former President Trump and his future wife, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, are seen in this photo with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida.

“Anton Lazzaro was a predator who hid in plain sight. He was a sex trafficker who camouflaged his true nature with his wealth and privilege,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger. “Today, his crimes were laid bare, and justice was served.”

“Lazzaro targeted, manipulated, and sexually exploited young and vulnerable girls for his own gain without regard for their age or safety,” said Alvin M. Winston Sr., Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office. “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that those who commit such heinous crimes will be held accountable. The FBI prioritizes crimes of victimization and will leave no stone unturned to protect the vulnerable and bring every perpetrator to justice.”

“While it cannot erase the harm Mr. Lazzaro has done, today’s sentence holds him accountable and sends a clear message that we do not tolerate this type of criminal behavior from anyone, regardless of their wealth or privilege,” said Drew Evans, superintendent of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

As proven at trial, Lazzaro conspired with Gisela Castro Medina, 21, to recruit young girls – 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds – to have sex with him in exchange for cash and other items of value.

Clockwise from the top, GOP donor Anton Lazzaro appears in this montage of photos with former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Fox News propagandist Tucker Carlson, Florida’s US Senator Marco Rubio, and South Carolina’s US Senator Lindsey Graham.

According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Lazzaro gave at least $7200 to campaign committees affiliated with Trump, .

He gave $40,000 to the Big Tent Republicans PAC, and he donated $10,000 or more each to the National Republican Congressional Committee, WinRed, the Minnesota Republican Party, Congressman Pete Stauber, the late U.S. Representative Jim Hagedorn, a Trump ally who died on February 17, 2022.

Lazzaro gave at least three separate contributions to the US Senate campaign fund established by James Treffinger, a Republican Essex County Executive County who pleaded guilty in 2003 to federal charges of obstruction of justice and mail fraud prosecuted by former Governor Chris Christie, who was the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey at the time.

Big Tent Republicans PAC was founded by Lazzaro as a unique group dedicated to broadening the base and appeal of the Republican Party to a young and diverse generation of Americans.

Lazzaro met Castro Medina in May of 2020 through the Seeking Arrangements website, which is known as a “sugar daddy” website.

Lazzaro directed Castro Medina to identify girls she knew and others on social media who would have sex with him for money, and he specified that he was looking for young girls of a certain skin color, petite body type, and those who were considered vulnerable, referring to them as “broken girls.”

Castro Medina would show Lazzaro photographs of minor girls and if the GOP honcho “approved” she would provide the child’s contact information to him.

Castro Medina told the victims that Lazzaro was an older guy with a lot of money and that he wanted to be a sugar daddy to younger girls.

For her role in recruiting multiple minor girls, Lazzaro paid Castro Medina more than $50,000.

Lazzaro often sent cars, typically Ubers, to transport the minor girls to his luxury condo in the Hotel Ivy in downtown Minneapolis. At one point, Lazzaro sent a driver to pick up a group of 14-and 15-year-old girls from a slumber party in St. Michael, Minnesota.

When the underage girls arrived at his condo, Lazzaro would give them alcohol, flash stacks of cash, and offer the girls precise sums of money to perform various sex acts.

Lazzaro would send the minor girls home with cash, vapes, alcohol, Plan B, cell phones, and other items of value.

Lazzaro carried out this trafficking scheme from May 2020 through December 2020. Following the execution of federal search warrants at Lazzaro’s condo on December 15, 2020, Lazzaro and Castro Medina discussed which of the minor victims spoke to law enforcement.

As part of her guilty plea, Castro Medina admitted that in March 2021, she and Lazzaro agreed to pay off a 15-year-old victim to prevent her from talking to law enforcement about engaging in commercial sex with Lazzaro.

On March 31, 2023, following a 10-day trial before Chief Judge Patrick J. Schiltz, Lazzaro was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and five counts of sex trafficking of minors.

Castro Medina pleaded guilty on December 19, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and one count of obstruction.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on September 5, 2023.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Schiltz commented on the “soulless, mechanical nature of Mr. Lazzaro’s crimes, like a sex trafficking assembly line,” adding that the only two people Lazzaro showed any remorse for were “himself and Jeffrey Epstein, who Mr. Lazzaro called ‘his brother.’”

This case is the result of a joint investigation by the FBI and the Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force – led by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations, the Minneapolis Police Department, the West Hennepin Public Safety Department, and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melinda A. Williams, Laura M. Provinzino, and Emily A. Polachek are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Baune is handling the seizure and forfeiture of assets.

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