Lazzaro to be sentenced in August for sex trafficking minors
The man prosecutors have dubbed “Minnesota’s Jeffrey Epstein” will be sentenced by a federal judge later this summer after being convicted of child sex trafficking.
On Friday, it took a jury two hours to find Anton “Tony” Lazzaro guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and five counts of sex trafficking of a minor.
Lazzaro, 32, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 9. He’s facing a minimum of 10 years in prison. He plans to appeal the conviction, a spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Friday.
Prosecutors argued during the two-week-long trial that the former GOP donor and strategist used his wealth and political connections to lure five minor victims to his condo, where he paid them for sex.
U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andy Luger told reporters Friday that this case is an example of modern-day sex trafficking.
“Trafficking can come in many forms,” Luger said. “What you see in the movies, what you see in the old descriptions has changed like everything else.”
Another aspect of trafficking that has changed is the digital evidence, says Erica MacDonald. MacDonald served as U.S. Attorney for Minnesota from 2018 to 2021.
“It has been a watershed in prosecutions, keeping up with these electronic devices,” she said during an interview Monday.
Investigators with both the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension spent months combing through cellphone records and social media accounts of the victims in the Lazzaro case.
MacDonald said even with the digital evidence, testimony from the victims helps to build trust in the justice system.
“When you have success in a case like that, it empowers others who are going through this to come forward and report what’s happened to them,” she said.
The jury was back in court Monday morning to decide which of Lazzaro’s possessions that investigators seized will now be forfeited to the government.
Additionally, Lazzaro’s sentencing date was set for Aug. 9 and Gisela Castro Medina, who pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and testified against Lazzaro, had her sentencing date moved up to Aug. 4.