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Anton Lazzaro, Republican Donor, Receives 21-Year Sentence for Trafficking Minors in Minnesota

Minneapolis — Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, a Republican donor previously well-connected within the party, has been given a 21-year prison sentence for charges of sex trafficking involving underage girls. Lazzaro was found guilty by a federal jury in March on seven counts related to engaging in “commercial sex acts” with five girls aged 15 and 16 in 2020. The mandatory minimum sentence for these charges was 10 years, with a maximum of life imprisonment.

Prosecutors had requested a 30-year sentence, drawing comparisons between Lazzaro and financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested in 2019 for similar crimes. The defense, on the other hand, asked for a maximum sentence of 10 years. However, U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz settled on a 21-year sentence and expressed harsh criticism towards Lazzaro. The judge noted that Lazzaro only showed sympathy for himself and Epstein during the trial and remarked on the mechanical and soulless nature of how Lazzaro exploited the girls.

One of the victims, who referred to Lazzaro as a child predator, spoke in court and shared the lasting impact of his actions on her life. Another victim’s mother directly addressed Lazzaro and condemned the damage he has caused to her daughter and their family, expressing a desire for him to rot in hell. The names of the victims are not typically disclosed by the Associated Press.

Lazzaro, insisting that the charges against him were politically motivated, maintained his innocence during the trial and denied explicitly paying the girls for sex. Defense attorney Daniel Gerdts stated that they are eager to proceed with an appeal.

Lazzaro’s indictment in 2021 caused controversy within the Republican Party of Minnesota, ultimately leading to the ousting of chair Jennifer Carnahan. His co-defendant, Gisela Castro Medina, a former leader of the College Republicans chapter at the University of St. Thomas, pleaded guilty to two counts and testified against Lazzaro during the trial. She is scheduled for sentencing in September.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Lazzaro recruited teenagers, particularly white, small, vulnerable, or “broken” minors, with the help of Castro Medina, whom he initially paid for sex.

Overall, this case sheds light on the severity of sex trafficking crimes and the importance of holding perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Unique Perspective: The sentencing of Anton Lazzaro highlights the ongoing issue of sex trafficking and the exploitation of minors. It serves as a reminder of the necessary steps that need to be taken to protect vulnerable individuals and dismantle criminal networks involved in such heinous activities. It is imperative for society to prioritize the safety and well-being of our youth and support efforts to combat human trafficking in all its forms.

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