GOP Megadonor Guilty Of Sex Trafficking Underage Girls

CBS News reports:

Anton Lazzaro, a former GOP operative, has been found guilty of sex trafficking underage girls. Lazzaro was charged with seven counts involving “commercial sex acts” with five minors ages 15 and 16 in 2020, when he was 30 years old.

Closing arguments wrapped on Friday, and the jury was handed the case shortly before noon. The jury deliberated for a little over three hours before finding Lazzaro guilty of all counts.

Federal prosecutors said Lazzaro, 32, paid teenagers for sex with money and gifts. He admitted to having sex with them, but denied recruiting them. Lazzaro put his hand to his face and shook his head when he heard the verdict read.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

Onlookers packed Chief U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz’s courtroom for closing arguments Friday morning, and again to hear the jury’s verdict in the afternoon.

The jury’s decision concludes a saga that started with the August 2021 arrest of the now-32-year-old wealthy GOP donor, as well as a former University of St. Thomas freshman who has since admitted to helping recruit teen girls for Lazzaro to pay for sex.

Prosecutors presented a case in which they described Lazzaro as enlisting a young woman he initially paid for sex to instead start recruiting other teen victims — preferably minors — who fit a desired profile: white, small, vulnerable or “broken,” in his own alleged words.

You may recall that the then-unfolding scandal brought down the chair of Minnesota GOP back in 2021.