MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A previously well-connected GOP donor was once convicted Friday of engaging teenage ladies with items, money and cash in alternate for intercourse.
A federal jury discovered Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, 32, responsible of 7 counts involving “business intercourse acts” with 5 ladies ages 15 and 16 in 2020, when he was once 30 years previous. The costs lift necessary minimal sentences of 10 years with a most of existence in jail.
The jury will go back to court docket Monday to decide what belongings the federal government can grasp in response to every conviction, the Minneapolis Big name Tribune reported.
Lazzaro, who contends the costs in opposition to him had been politically motivated, plans to enchantment, a spokeswoman for his legal professionals stated in a remark to The Related Press.
“The strange utility of this federal intercourse trafficking statute to his actions is frighteningly extensive, conflating what’s not anything greater than arguably an act of prostitution with federal intercourse trafficking,” Stacy Bettison stated. “He believes he has sturdy grounds for enchantment, and he’ll vigorously search reversal of his conviction. Mr. Lazzaro trusts he’ll be vindicated.”
His indictment ended in the downfall of Jennifer Carnahan as chair of the Republican Celebration of Minnesota.
His co-defendant, 21-year-old Gisela Castro Medina, who previously led the Faculty Republicans bankruptcy on the College of St. Thomas, pleaded responsible to 2 counts final 12 months. She testified in opposition to Lazzaro.
Prosecutors argued throughout the trial that Lazzaro enlisted Medina, who he first of all paid for intercourse, to recruit different youngsters — ideally minors — who had been white, small, susceptible or “damaged.”
“He sought after intercourse, and no longer simply any intercourse,” Assistant U.S. Lawyer Melinda Williams stated throughout ultimate arguments Friday. “He sought after intercourse with minor ladies beneath the age of 18. And he had a plan to get it.”
Lazarro’s lawyer, Daniel Gerdts, argued that executive’s “salacious” prosecution was once in response to “totally unfounded” allegations.
“The prosecution obviously disapproves of Mr. Lazzaro’s playboy way of life,” Gerdts stated. “And admittedly, as the daddy of 3 daughters, so do I. The opprobrium is definitely deserved, however that’s not why we’re right here.”
Carnahan, the widow of U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, resigned every week after the costs in opposition to Lazzaro had been unsealed. She denied realizing about Lazzaro’s crimes however his arrest precipitated outrage amongst birthday party activists.
Footage on Lazzaro’s social media accounts confirmed him with outstanding Republicans, together with former President Donald Trump and previous Vice President Mike Pence. He gave greater than $270,000 to Republican campaigns and political committees over time.
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