Defense rests in Lazzaro sex trafficking trial, closing arguments to be made Friday

(KSTP ) – Closing arguments are expected to be made Friday in the trial of Anton “Tony” Lazzaro, after the defense rested its case Thursday morning.

Lazzaro, a former Republican donor and strategist, is charged with sex trafficking of minors. Prosecutors allege he used his wealth and political status to lure minor girls to his luxury condo.

This week, Lazzaro took the stand on both Tuesday and Wednesday and stepped down from the stand at around 9:40 a.m. Thursday. He was followed by two other witnesses before the defense rested shortly before 10 a.m.

Lazzaro has admitted to having sex with the minors but says he didn’t pay them and, instead, insists he gave them gifts they asked for.

On the stand this week, Lazzaro explained that he became involved in politics after moving to Minnesota. His arrest in 2021 generated national attention because of his ties to high-profile GOP leaders. They quickly condemned the allegations and promised to donate Lazzaro’s campaign contributions to charity.

Prosecutors didn’t have any rebuttal testimony Thursday morning.

This story first appeared on KSTP-TV.