Teenagers testify against ‘Mr. Tony’ in Lazzaro’s sex trafficking trial
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A teenage witness said Anton “Tony” Lazzaro had sex with her even after she told him she was only 16 years old at the time.
The witness, who is now 19, was one of three teenagers who testified on Friday that Lazzaro paid minor girls for sex.
Lazzaro has pleaded not guilty.
In court, the teenagers explained that Lazzaro brought young girls to his luxury condo in downtown Minneapolis where he gave them alcohol and $100 bills in exchange for sex.
Another witness, who was 14 when she met Lazzaro, said he sent an Uber to pick her and her friends up from a sleepover.
She did not have sex with Lazzaro but testified that she became enamored with the lifestyle and called him “Mr. Tony.”
“While I was there, I thought I was really cool. I thought maybe I was special or something because I got to do that and other people didn’t,” the witness said.
She later broke down crying while being questioned by Lazzaro’s defense attorneys, leading to a brief break in court.
Another witness, who prosecutors identified as Victim B, testified that she initially told Lazzaro that she was 18 but later admitted she was only 16.
“He was fine with it,” she told the jury. “He was like, ‘OK, as long as nobody knows.'”
Prosecutors say Lazzaro had sex with at least five minor girls.
Earlier in the week, they heard from another teenager who testified that she had sex with Lazzaro twice when she was just 15.
The jury also heard from Lazzaro’s co-defendant this week. Gisela Castro Medina said Thursday that Lazzaro asked her to recruit young “broken” girls to have sex with him.
She said she was paid $50,000 in cash and gifts and was offered more money to stay quiet after Lazzaro learned he was under federal investigation in 2020.
But Castro Medina pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Lazzaro.
Lazzaro’s attorneys tried to discredit her testimony by suggesting she was only doing it to get a reduced prison sentence.
Lazzaro’s attorneys also questioned the teenagers who testified on Friday, arguing they were not the victims of sex trafficking because they willingly engaged in the sexual acts.
The sex trafficking trial is expected to last at least another week.