Anton Lazzaro paid two teen sisters — one of whom was 16 — cash to have group sex with him in 2020, according to testimony from the two on Friday in the former Minneapolis GOP operative's ongoing child sex-trafficking trial.
Inseparable after the death of their mother at a young age, the sisters said they traveled together to Lazzaro's Hotel Ivy luxury condominium in June 2020, where they were first paid to take off their clothes and later for sex on successive visits.
"Would you have done this but for the money?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Melinda Williams asked the younger sister Friday.
"No," she replied.
Now 19, the younger sister is one of five alleged victims associated with the case and is referred to as Victim B in the government's indictment. Her older sister, now 21, was 18 when the two met Lazzaro. They testified that they first said Victim B was also an adult, but added that Lazzaro didn't mind when he learned that she was just 16 on their first night together.
Lazzaro is standing trial on one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of a minor and five counts of sex trafficking of a minor for each alleged victim. He has been in custody since his August 2021 indictment and arrest.
Wearing a suit and tie, Lazzaro spoke often with his attorneys while listening to at-times tearful testimony from the prosecution's witnesses on Friday. It marked the third day of trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz in Minneapolis.
The sisters testified that a boy named Nick, a past homecoming date of the eldest, first asked the older sister if she wanted to make money from a "sugar daddy." She agreed, and Nick connected her with Lazzaro on Snapchat.
Lazzaro's co-defendant Gisela Castro Medina, 20, has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges and is cooperating with the government. During her full day of testimony Thursday, she explained that she had several male friends — including a person named Nick — help her find and recruit young girls for Lazzaro.
The two sisters on Friday testified about how Lazzaro served them liquor and Klonopin pills during their encounters — which totaled three times and also included other friends.
One night, Victim B said, Lazzaro lined the sisters and a third friend together naked on his bed. She could see a camera flash and watched him send the photo to someone on Snapchat. Castro Medina on Thursday told jurors she received such a photo from Lazzaro, describing the girls as being arranged "like sardines."
The sisters said that Lazzaro first offered them $100 to remove their clothes and that they later received $400 each for sex. The sisters said one friend grew uncomfortable when he deemed it her turn for sex and ran from the room. They said Lazzaro urged the girl to stay and warned that she wouldn't be paid if she left.
Victim B said Lazzaro would later send individual messages asking her to see him without her older sister's knowledge. She testified Friday that she refused because she was uncomfortable and scared of being with Lazzaro alone.
One night, she said, she refused an offer to be paid $100 per inch of hair she cut off for Lazzaro.
"I thought it was really weird," she said, adding that Lazzaro gave her "creep vibes."
On cross-examination from Daniel Gerdts, one of Lazzaro's two defense attorneys in the case, Victim B clarified statements to investigators in December 2020 that it was her older sister who received money for sex. Victim B said Friday that she meant that Lazzaro handed cash to her sister intended to pay for both of their services.
Friday started with another teen girl recalling being picked up from a slumber party in St. Michael, Minn., alongside two friends in 2020 and driven to the man she called "Mr. Tony."
The girl, now 17, described taking an Uber and being greeted by a "guy looking like a butler man from a movie" as they walked through the entrance of the Hotel Ivy.
Another girl from that group testified on the first day of trial this week about that night and has since been identified as Victim C.
The girl told jurors Friday that her friend, Victim C, met "Mr. Tony" through Snapchat, where he sent her pictures of money and asked if she and her friends wanted to come over. She explained that she would refer to Lazzaro as "Mr. Tony" among her friends but often called him Tony to his face.
She described how Lazzaro served the three friends alcohol with gold flakes and said that Victim C drank much more than the other two. Lazzaro, she said, did not partake. Two of the friends, including Friday's witness, were 14 at the time but said they were 15. The witness further testified that Victim C also lied about her age, saying she was 16 and not 15.
Lazzaro is now 32 and told the girls that he was in his early 20s at the time of the alleged encounter.
The girl testified that Victim C and "Mr. Tony" disappeared for some time while the other two girls hung out on Lazzaro's couch. The next time she saw her friend, she said, Victim C stumbled out of Lazzaro's bedroom and fell to the floor on her stomach. Her pants and underwear were around her ankles.
Thomas Beito, Lazzaro's attorney, pointed out that Victim C did not say this happened during her testimony. Beito also said Victim C testified that she was served champagne and not hard alcohol that evening.
Victim C's friends helped her off the floor and Lazzaro called an Uber to return the girls to their friend's slumber party. As they left, he gave them each $100 bills, she said.
Later, the girl testified, Lazzaro picked up Victim C alone in his Ferrari and she would return with cash she'd use to pay for the friends' meals.
Prosecutors have estimated that they will conclude their case by Tuesday. Williams told Schiltz at the end of Friday's proceedings that the government plans to call to the witness stand on Monday the three remaining alleged victims left to testify.