Who is Anton Lazzaro? Minnesota GOP Strategist Faces Underage Sex Trafficking Charges

Wealthy Minnesota Republican strategist Anton Lazzaro was arrested in Minneapolis on Thursday morning on underage sex trafficking charges, the FBI confirmed.

The Daily Beast reported that the strategist and occasional Fox News guest was indicted on five counts of sex trafficking of a minor, one count of attempting to do so, and three counts of obstruction of justice.

The indictment was unsealed in a federal court in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday afternoon during Lazzaro's initial appearance, which took place via videoconference.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson ordered Lazzaro to remain in jail until a hearing next week after prosecutors claimed six victims had asked for additional protection against the GOP strategist.

The indictment alleges that Lazzaro "recruited" at least five underage victims for paid sex between May and December last year, and tried to entice a sixth. Police believe there may be more victims.

The indictment also says Lazzaro "knowingly and intentionally interfered" with the investigation as it progressed.

A second suspect is under investigation but yet to be arrested. The person has been mentioned by the indictment as a co-conspirator but has not been identified.

A statement from his lawyer to the Star Tribune said Lazzaro denies the allegations, saying he has been "falsely accused."

Newsweek has contacted Lazzaro for comment.

Who Is Anton Lazzaro?

Lazzaro is known for flaunting his wealthy lifestyle on Instagram, with photos showing him aboard private jets, driving topless in sports cars, and bragging about making bets in Las Vegas while holding huge wads of cash.

He is a long-time GOP donor, but his donations have increased sharply since 2016. He made several donations to Minnesota Republicans in 2020, state campaign finance data shows. In total, he has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is calling on GOP officials who accepted donations from Lazzaro to donate the money to anti-trafficking organizations.

On his website, it says Lazzaro is the founder of Big Tent Republicans PAC group, which "looks to redefine the Republican Party specifically to minority, LGBT, and women who he feels have been misinformed by the Democratic Party as well as neglected by his own party."

The website homepage shows photos of Lazzaro posing with former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

He also founded his company Gold River Group, a marketing and technology firm registered in Wyoming but which has a postal address in California.

The website says that Lazzaro ran digital operations for several Republican political campaigns in California and Minnesota.

The 30-year-old entrepreneur served as campaign manager for GOP Congressional candidate Lacy Johnson, who unsuccessfully ran to unseat Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Lazzaro studied at Brigham Young University in Idaho and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Trump and Pence fliers
GOP strategist Anton Lazzaro, who was a supporter of both Trump and Pence, was arrested in Minneapolis on Thursday morning on underage sex trafficking charges. File photo: Campaign signs dropped by supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence collect under a set of bleachers before the start of a campaign rally on November 7, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Scott Olson/Getty