GOP operative indicted on child sex trafficking charges

[anvplayer video=”5050034″ station=”998128″]

MINNEAPOLIS – A Republican political operative has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Minnesota on child sex trafficking charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges Anton Lazzaro conspired with others to recruit and solicit six people under the age of 18 to engage in commercial sex between May and December of 2020. The 30-year-old Lazzaro is being held in the Sherburne County Jail.

Lazzaro’s attorney Zachary Newland said Lazzaro is being falsely accused and did not commit the crimes he’s charged with.

Lazzaro has donated nearly 190-thousand dollars to state gop candidates and organizations.

Friday, Jennifer Carnahan, chair of the Minnesota Republican party says the organization will be donating the contributions made by Lazzaro to charity.

Her husband Congressman Jim Hagedorn also says he will be donating the contributions he received from Lazzaro to charities in southern Minnesota.

In his statement, Hagedorn called the charges "deeply troubling."

"These charges are deeply troubling. No one should be a victim of sex trafficking. Every citizen has the right to present a defense in court to refute charges. But, should these serious allegations lead to a conviction, we expect the imposition of the strictest punishments under our judicial system.

"To better ensure women and children who are the victims of trafficking and domestic violence have the services they need, the contributions made by Mr. Lazzaro to our campaign will be donated to charities in southern Minnesota. It is critical that victims receive all necessary support and resources. Further, this incident highlights the need to support the men and women of law enforcement, who work diligently to protect citizens and bring justice to victims."

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