Anton Lazzaro: Politics, Predation & Power
Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, on the surface, a once well-connected Republican donor who often flaunted his wealth and prestige on social media. But, behind closed doors, he was at the forefront of a sex trafficking enterprise. Today, he was sentenced to 21 years in prison for his crimes.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
During the trial, prosecutors introduced evidence that Lazzaro plied the girls with liquor before having sex with them, and in one instance had sex with a girl who had passed out from drinking too much alcohol.
Federal prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Lazzaro paid Gisela Castro Medina, then an 18-year-old University of St. Thomas student, to recruit other teen victims. Castro Medina, now 21, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges and testified against Lazzaro at his trial. She will be sentenced Sept. 5.
The mother of another teenager who was recruited to have sex with Lazzaro spoke bitterly about how he continued to justify his actions. “You even smirk, right now,” she said, and accused him of creating “a trail of devastation” for the five girls, including her daughter.
In Jeffrey Epstein-like fashion, Lazzaro’s defense attorneys blamed the innocent victims, contending that money given to the girls constituted “gifts” and that they consented to sex.
Minnesota law states that minors—especially minors who are drunk and incapacitated—cannot consent to sex with adults.
Lazzaro’s 21-year prison sentence makes it clear what his victims have been saying for years: He used his money and powerful connections to create and maintain an “assembly line of sex trafficking victims.” It is only because of courageous survivors that the assembly line has stopped, at least for the next 21 years, while Lazzaro is imprisoned.
Like Jeffery Epstein, Lazzaro used his money to become a “political darling”. He abused his power, using powerful connections to sustain silence and a continual supply of victims. How many of these connections knew what Lazzaro was doing, but chose to stay silent in order to keep the donations flowing? Why was Minnesota GOP Chair forced out of office after Lazzaro’s arrest? Why didn’t GOP officials wait for a further investigation or conviction?
Lazzaro’s saga leaves more questions than answers, but this we do know: for the next 21 years, Anton Lazzaro will not be able to rape minors. But what happens when those 21 years are up?
One thing is clear: No matter how much money you donate, elections you win, or political power you wield, no one should ever get a “free pass” to rape children and cover it up.