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FBI arrests GOP strategist for child sex trafficking charges

The man was arrested on Thursday.

Police Car sirens Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

One GOP strategist has just been hit with some very serious charges.

On Thursday (Aug. 12), the FBI arrested Anton Joseph “Tony” Lazzaro on multiple sex trafficking charges. According to Minnesota’s Star Tribune, Lazzaro is a local business man who also acts as a Republican strategist. He is reportedly the founder of the Big Tent Republicans PAC. He made his first appearance in court today.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the district of Minnesota alleges that Lazzaro “conspired with others to recruit and solicit six minor victims to engage in commercial sex acts” between May and December 2020. The feds have charged Lazzaro with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, five counts of sex trafficking of minors, one count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of obstruction of justice.

According to a press release, the case is one based on an investigation conducted by “the FBI, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Minneapolis Police Department, the West Hennepin Public Safety Department, and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.” Lazzaro’s lawyer, Zachary Newland, issued a statement proclaiming Lazzaro’s innocence.

“Mr. Lazzaro has been charged with horrible crimes. But they are crimes which he did not commit,” Newland said. “So, not only has Mr. Lazzaro been falsely accused, but, because of the seriousness of the charges and the overreaching by the government, he, an innocent man, could potentially spend the rest of his life behind bars if convicted on even one count, and each count comes with a 10-year mandatory minimum. Mr. Lazzaro looks forward to clearing his good name and continuing to work for the betterment of his community. Until then, Mr. Lazzaro asks that the public withhold judgment so that the truth can come out.”

Considering their evidence, prosecutors think there will be more alleged victims in this case. Lazzaro will stay in jail at least until his formal detention hearing next Monday.

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