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Judge: Accused child sex trafficker Anton Lazzaro tried to 'threaten and intimidate' officer

Lazzaro, the judge wrote, told the officer he knew where they lived.
Anton Lazzaro

As a Minneapolis police officer helped move Anton "Tony" Lazzaro to a new facility, the accused child sex trafficker offered up a chilling piece of information: That he knew where the officer lived.

It is one of three instance, U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz wrote this week, where Lazzaro suggested he would "threaten and intimidate" law enforcement officers as the federal case against him unfolded. And because of it, Schiltz ordered the former GOP operative must remain in custody while he awaits trial.

Lazzaro was indicted in August by a federal grand jury on 10 counts related to child sex trafficking. He was a prominent face within the Minnesota GOP: A well-connected fundraiser, donor and strategist.

In the order, filed Nov 2, the judge formally denies Lazarro's request to be released to his downtown Minneapolis luxury condo until the trial begins. The 30-year-old had offered to pay for extensive electronic monitoring  while under house arrest, including security cameras, biometric locks and an ankle monitor — conditions his attorney described as akin to The Truman Show.

Related: Civil lawsuit accuses Anton Lazzaro of being sex trafficking 'ringmaster'

The federal government had argued that "no set of conditions will reasonably prevent Lazzaro from having sexual contact with a minor," which Schiltz didn't buy. In this week's order, he wrote Lazzaro's proposed set-up would be sufficient for authorities to ensure he abides by all conditions of his release, including that he not have sexual contact with a minor. Schiltz also dismissed concerns Lazzaro might try to flee and not show up to court.

But Lazzaro's attempted intimidation of law enforcement, offered as part of the Minneapolis police officer's testimony, could not be overlooked, Schiltz wrote, as there are likely no release conditions that will assure he doesn't engage in the same behavior.

In addition to telling the officer he knew where he lived, Lazzaro, according to the order, also:

  • Said he unsuccessfully tried to uncover personal information about an FBI agent involved in the investigation, describing the agent as a "ghost."
  • Stated an assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case "is going to regret this."

"There is no legitimate reason — none — for Lazzaro to be collecting home addresses and other personal information about the law enforcement officers involved in his case," Schiltz wrote.

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The judge also cited Lazzaro's attempt to silence one of the underage victims (again revealed in testimony by the Minneapolis police officer) by texting her, saying he didn't realize she was 15, according to the order. He then also enlisted the help of his co-defendant, Gisela Medina, requesting she and another person go to the victim's workplace with cash and a bottle of alcohol in exchange for her silence, according to the court document.

"The Court is unable to identify any set of conditions that will reasonably assure that Lazzaro will not continue in his efforts to influence his alleged victims and threaten and intimidate government officials," Schiltz wrote, denying his release request.

Lazzaro remains in Sherburne County Jail.

The charges accuse him of recruiting six children to engage in sex acts for money between May and December of 2020. Medina was indicted shortly after, and faces seven counts related to child sex trafficking.

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