Defense rests in Lazzaro sex trafficking trial, closing arguments to be made Friday
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A jury will soon decide the fate of Anton “Tony” Lazzaro after testimony wrapped up in the federal sex trafficking trial Thursday. The court confirmed attorneys for both sides will deliver their closing arguments on Friday morning.
Lazzaro, a former Republican donor and strategist, is charged with sex trafficking of minors. Prosecutors allege he used his wealth and political status to lure minor girls to his luxury condo.
Photos of that condo that were used as exhibits in the trial were released Thursday afternoon. The pictures show features that each of the five minor victims testified to remembering when Lazzaro brought them to the Hotel Ivy residence in 2020, including a hallway lined with photos of Lazzaro and prominent political figures.
Lazzaro spent much of the week on the stand testifying in his own defense. He admitted to having sex with the minors but repeatedly stated that the cash and other gifts he gave them were not in exchange for sex.
“I very quickly got the reputation that I was very liberal with the amount of money I would give to people for nothing,” Lazzaro said on the stand earlier in the week.
In addition to his testimony, Lazzaro’s attorneys brought in several character witnesses who testified that Lazzaro would even give money to people he didn’t know.
On Thursday, after Lazzaro stepped down, his attorneys called two men to the stand: one who met Lazzaro 15 years ago in an online forum for train enthusiasts and the other a former carpenter who did odd jobs for Lazzaro when he lived in South Dakota.
Both testified to Lazzaro’s generosity.
His current girlfriend, Kira Costal, took the stand on Tuesday. She met Lazzaro through a friend when she was still in high school.
“The night that I first met him, I asked him if he could lend me some money… and he gave me money,” she said on the stand.
Prosecutors pointed out that Lazzaro pays for Costal’s apartment and that she uses his credit cards. In August, 5 INVESTIGATES reported he also bought her a Tesla.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melinda Williams questioned Costal about her loyalty to Lazzaro, asking about a comment that Costal made to Lazzaro during a recorded phone call this week.
“Did you say, ‘You let me know what needs to get done, and I will literally kill people to get it done,’ right?” Williams asked.
Costal responded with a laugh, “Yes.”