Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, a one-time Minnesota Republican political operative and top donor has been found guilty of sex trafficking underage girls. In 2020, he was charged with seven counts of commercial sex acts with five minor girls aged 15 and 16. The 32-year-old was found guilty of five counts of sex trafficking minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. The verdict came after an eight-day trial that followed a two-and-a-half-year investigation.

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Melinda Williams, assistant US Attorney called Lazzaro a predator, “and his type is particularly dangerous,” she said after the verdict. Williams was one of three federal prosecutors and made the final argument to jurors.

She said Lazzaro was one “who presented themselves as helpful and kind and generous when in reality all Anton Lazzaro wanted to do was purchase sex with young girls.”

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On Friday, the closing arguments came as Williams told jurors that “the defendant enticed, recruited, and you know now, obtained each of these minors.” “He bought them,” she said. “Sex for cash. This for that.”

The jury deliberated for about three hours before finding Lazzaro guilty of all counts. The trial started last week.

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The investigation into Lazzaro was launched in the fall of 2020 after the mother of one of the 16-year-old victims got suspicious of her new iPhone and large deposits into her bank account. She confronted her, got a confession of what had happened, and went to the FBI.

Federal prosecutors said the 32-year-old paid teenagers for sex with money and gifts. Lazzaro admitted to having sex with them but denied recruiting them.

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All five victims testified before the jury about meeting Lazzaro in the summer of 2020. They were connected to Lazzaro through Snapchat. The victims were being told that Lazzaro was a Sugar Daddy looking to meet Sugar Babies.

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Lazzaro was living large by all accounts until the raid related to allegations of sex trafficking of underage girls. He owned flashy cars, private planes, and cash. His social media posts show him with the president and high-ranking politicians.