According to an unsealed indictment: Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, the founder of the GOP PAC Big Tent Republicans who made regular appearances on Fox News now faces three counts of obstruction, five counts of sex trafficking of a minor, a count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, and another count of attempted sex trafficking. The charges were handed down by a Minnesota Grand Jury against the former Republican strategist and campaign manager.
In a press release from the Department of Justice, Acting United States Attorney W. Anders Folk announced,
“According to court documents, from May 2020 through December 2020, Anton Joseph Lazzaro, a/k/a “Tony Lazzaro,” 30, conspired with others to recruit and solicit six minor victims to engage in commercial sex acts.”
“Based on the evidence obtained in this investigation, authorities believe there may be additional victims of the alleged conduct,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release.
Anyone with information about this matter is being asked to call the FBI Minneapolis Division at 763-569-8000.
Who Is “Tony Lazzaro”? And Why Was He On Fox News?
Mr. Lazzaro who has been a frequent enough guest on Fox News to be recognizable is a former Minnesota Congressional campaign manager for GOP hopeful Lacy Johnson who ran against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and a Republican strategist who according to reports enjoyed flaunting a lifestyle of wealth on social media.
According to Fox 9 News, Lazzaro is a major campaign contributor,
“Lazzaro has contributed $42,000 in recent years to the Republican Party of Minnesota. In a statement issued Friday morning, Carnahan, the party’s chairwoman, called the allegations against Lazzaro “abhorrent” if true, and said the Minnesota GOP is donating the contributions he had given the party to charity.”
The scandal has left prominent legislators like U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer and Minnesota state Sen. Karin Housley pledging to donate any funds contributed by Lazzaro as well.
Sen. Housley, said in a statement,
“These allegations are disturbing and troubling, and they make my heart ache for the victims of such a horrifying crime,” Housley said “It has been many years since I have seen Mr. Lazzaro, and I felt it important to the victims to do what I can to offer support so that others do not experience the same hardship. I will be sending a check to the group Women’s Foundation of Minnesota for their ‘Our Girls Are Not For Sale’ program in the same amount my campaign for U.S. Senate received from Lazzaro so they may have resources to support other victims of trafficking.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson has remanded Lazzaro pending sentencing no doubt due in part to his wealth and political connections. She said, “It’s their strong wish that the United States proceed with a recommendation of detention,” referring to his victims.