KSTP ABC 5 is reporting that a federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed against Minnesota GOP donor Anton “Tony” Lazzaro.
According to the attorneys for one of the alleged victims, Lazzaro and others groomed and recruited an unnamed minor.
According to the lawsuit, Anton Lazzaro’s attorneys offered the girl and her parents $1,000 in hush money and asked them to sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for their silence. Instead of going to law enforcement, the girl’s father refused.
Lazzaro is accused of abusing his power, according to the lawsuit, which also names the girl’s parents as plaintiffs “power, wealth, influence, connections, and resources to recruit children … so that he could prey on them. When it became clear that Lazzaro had committed serious crimes, he attempted to coerce his victims and their families into keeping silent.”
The lawsuit does not name the girl or her parents.
Gisela Castro Medina, 19, is also accused of recruiting girls for Lazzaro. Medina was the former chairperson of the University of St. Thomas’ Minnesota College Republicans chapter.
According to the lawsuit, Lazzaro and Medina used social media to find young women or girls and introduce them to Lazzaro for sex in exchange for money and gifts.
According to the lawsuit, the girl and Medina became friends in 2018, when she was about 14 years old. When the girl was 16, Medina invited her to meet Lazzaro and began grooming her, explaining that he was a powerful, prominent, and wealthy businessman and political figure.
Lazzaro arranged for cars to bring the girl to his home on several occasions between May and July 2020, according to the lawsuit, and he committed “multiple commercial sex acts” against her.
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Lazzaro tried to coerce the girl into silence after months of repeated sex trafficking. According to the lawsuit, in July 2020, Lazzaro’s attorneys called the girl’s father and offered the family hush money and a non-disclosure agreement. According to the attorney, the girl was aggressively attempting to defame Lazzaro and Medina on social media.
According to the proposed non-disclosure agreement, Lazzaro and the girl had “a consensual interaction in the recent past,” according to the lawsuit. The proposed agreement provides $1,000 in exchange for the girl and her parents agreeing not to publicly criticize Lazzaro or Medina.
According to the lawsuit, it also demanded that they “not disclose the nature of the prior interaction with Mr. Lazarro to the public” so that he could continue his sex trafficking business.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, claiming that the girl has suffered and will continue to suffer pain, emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, sexual confusion, and other issues as a result of the sexual abuse.
Both Lazzaro and Medina have already been charged with federal crimes. Lazzaro has pled not guilty to several charges.
Lazzaro’s criminal trial is set to begin in federal court in St. Paul on Oct. 18.