Lawsuit: GOP donor used wealth, political connections to sex traffic teen

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A new lawsuit alleges Minnesota GOP donor Anton Lazzaro used his “power, wealth, influence, connections and resources” to sex traffic a 16-year-old and then attempt to coerce her family into silence.

Law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which previously sued the Catholic church for child abuse, planned to announce the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of one of Lazzaro’s alleged victim’s parents. Lazzaro, 30, is currently being held in jail while facing a 10-count federal indictment for sex trafficking and obstruction.

The lawsuit describes Lazzaro as a “politically connected and wealthy adult,” citing his public friendship with Jennifer Carnahan, who resigned from her post as GOP chairwoman after charges against Lazzaro went public.

“Lazzaro often flaunted his wealth and high-powered political connections to the public and on social media,” the complaint states. “For example, Lazzaro posted pictures of himself carrying tens of thousands of dollars in cash, sitting atop a private jet, and driving in his Ferrari. Lazzaro’s image could be found online next to several noteworthy politicians, political figures, and prominent members of the media.”

Lazzaro allegedly recruited 19-year-old Gisela Medina, since-ousted chair of the University of St. Thomas College Republicans, to find underage girls and solicit them for sex on his behalf in exchange for money and gifts, according to the lawsuit.

Medina is charged as Lazzaro’s co-conspirator in the criminal case as well.

After months of sex trafficking, Lazzaro attempted to coerce the teenage girl and her family into signing “to coverup his illegal activity with a nondisclosure agreement” in exchange for $1,000, according to the lawsuit. “The proposed agreement admits ‘Mr. Lazzaro and [Minor Doe] had a consensual interaction in the recent past.'”

Lazzaro’s behavior inflicted psychological trauma on the unnamed teen and her family and they “will continue to incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy and counseling,” according to the lawsuit.

Lazzaro has pleaded not guilty to all charges. In a recent hearing on the criminal case, his attorney, Zachary Lee Newland, dismissed the allegations as without merit and from anonymous accusers.

Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036

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