Anton Lazzaro, a younger Republican strategist and former congressional marketing campaign supervisor in Minnesota, was arrested on underage intercourse trafficking expenses Thursday morning, in line with federal legislation enforcment.
Lazzaro, a Fox Information commentator who flaunts his rich way of life on social media, was indicted on 5 counts of intercourse trafficking of a minor, one rely of trying to take action, and three counts of obstruction of justice. The FBI confirmed its brokers had arrested Lazzaro in Minneapolis this morning. And the indictment was unsealed in federal court docket Thursday afternoon throughout his preliminary look in federal court docket in St. Paul, Minnesota, which occurred over a video convention.
U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose Becky R. Thorson ordered that Lazzaro stay jailed till a court docket listening to subsequent week, after prosecutors claimed six victims had requested for added safety from Lazzaro.
“It’s their robust want that the USA proceed with a advice of detention,” Thorson stated of the alleged victims.
The indictment accuses Lazzaro of getting “recruited” at the least 5 underage victims for paid intercourse between Could and December final 12 months, and attempting to entice a sixth.
The feds have but to arrest a second particular person below investigation, who’s talked about as a co-conspirator within the indictment however not recognized.
“There’s nothing to this case. It is not some Matt Gaetz or no matter you assume that is.”
— Anton Lazzaro
The FBI raided Lazzaro’s luxurious condominium in mid-December final 12 months, and brokers had sought proof regarding whom he had introduced residence into the Lodge Ivy residences in downtown Minneapolis, in line with three sources who spoke on situation of anonymity.
Regulation enforcement served the condominium constructing’s administration firm with a search warrant looking for Lazzaro’s financial institution information and video surveillance footage per week earlier than the raid, in line with an individual with direct data. The search warrant seems in federal court docket information however stays sealed. The prosecutors engaged on this case didn’t return telephone calls looking for additional element.
When requested in regards to the investigation final month, the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace declined to offer any details about the matter. The FBI on the time would solely verify that it had carried out “court-authorized legislation enforcement exercise at that location” this previous December.
In a telephone dialog with this reporter final month, Lazzaro confirmed that his condo had been searched in December however didn’t acknowledge the character of the investigation, merely claiming that “somebody made a false accusation in opposition to me.”
“There is no expenses, no case, nothing political,” he stated, including that the “matter was relating to a very unrelated incident that is now virtually resolved, basically.”
Lazzaro claimed that his protection legal professional on this case had subcontracted the distinguished lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a one-time Harvard Regulation College professor who has suggested former President Donald Trump and ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Nonetheless, Dershowitz denied that to The Day by day Beast.
“It is simply not true,” Dershowitz stated.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur served because the marketing campaign supervisor for GOP candidate Lacy Johnson, who ran an unsuccessful bid in 2020 to unseat Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Johnson instructed The Day by day Beast that his former marketing campaign supervisor by no means instructed him in regards to the raid or the investigation. Johnson stated Lazzaro by no means mentioned his private relationship life.
“I don’t know that aspect of Tony. He’s younger, he’s received cash, and… that tends to draw females,” Johnson stated.
Johnson expressed dismay that he first heard particulars in regards to the prison probe from a journalist, versus his trusted advisor.
Johnson described first assembly Lazzaro at a statewide GOP caucus. He later launched his marketing campaign with the youthful political operative at his aspect in 2019. Federal election information record Lazzaro’s personal political motion committee, Large Tent Republicans PAC, as an affiliated group of Johnson’s marketing campaign.
Lazzaro’s PAC has funneled greater than $22,000 to political committees in California, Minnesota, Michigan and New Mexico, according to federal election records. Almost half of the comparatively small PAC is funded by Lazzaro himself, whom associates describe as a younger investor with a selected curiosity within the digital foreign money Bitcoin.
Lazzaro has forged himself as a next-generation Republican with “extra modernized views,” as he instructed Minnesota’s Star Tribune final 12 months. On his web site, Lazzaro says his PAC “seems to be to redefine the Republican Social gathering particularly to minority, LGBT, and girls” who he acknowledges have been “uncared for by his personal celebration.”
He has donated to Republicans for practically a decade, however his contributions ramped up sharply since 2016.
His personal website reveals alongside Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and a number of tv appearances on Fox Information. On social media, Lazzaro reveals himself sitting on non-public jets, waving stacks of money, and driving shirtless in his pink Ferrari.
Final 12 months, he was on the brief record of his Minnesota’s presidential electors for the Republican Social gathering as an “alternate” who may substitute for any lacking delegates, in line with state election records.
In a quick interview in July, Lazzaro claimed The Day by day Beast had “intercepted” details about the case it shouldn’t have obtained and threatened to sue this reporter. Lazzaro revealed that he secretly recorded the telephone name and asserted that he would purchase the area identify “JosePaglieryNews.com” to launch audio of the decision. After the interview, Lazzaro despatched an e-mail with a screenshot indicating he had already bought six related domains with that intent.
“There’s nothing to this case. It is not some Matt Gaetz or no matter you assume that is,” he stated.
His Dallas-area protection legal professional, Zachary L. Newland, declined to offer particulars in regards to the alleged intercourse crime being investigated or the continuing discussions with federal prosecutors. In mid-July, he instructed The Day by day Beast that his authorized workforce continues to be “in the dead of night” as a result of it had but to obtain copies of legislation enforcement paperwork explaining what brokers have discovered.
Newland didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Thursday. However in an earlier interview, he had stated: “We sit up for clearing Mr. Lazzaro’s identify… I feel he is harmless. They do not have a provable case right here.”