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Judge: No release for GOP donor accused of sex trafficking

November 2, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a prominent Minnesota GOP donor charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking to stay in jail as he prepares his defense, following accusations he threatened law enforcement and prosecutors.

Anton Lazzaro allegedly told Minneapolis police officer Brandon Brugger after his arrest that he knew where Brugger lived and said federal prosecutor Laura Provinzino was “going to regret this.” Brugger also testified that Lazzaro tried but failed to find personal information about an FBI agent, whom Lazzaro called a “ghost.”

“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,” U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz wrote. The judge added that remarks about Brugger and Provinzino were clearly meant to threaten and intimidate them, the Star Tribune reported.

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Lazzaro, 30, was charged in August with five counts of sex trafficking of minors, one count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor, one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and three counts of obstruction. His attorney has said he is being falsely accused and did not commit the crimes.