MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Accused sex trafficker Tony Lazzaro is facing new allegations he tried to silence a minor and her family with cash. Those accusations are part of a federal civil lawsuit filed on Tuesday against the Republican donor and strategist.
Best known for representing victims of child sex abuse in litigation against the Catholic Church, attorney Jeff Anderson says the family reached out to his office first.
After learning about the relationship between the victim and Lazzaro, he encouraged them to go to authorities, who began an investigation.
Anderson announced the lawsuit at a press conference, where he claimed Lazzaro met the girl when she was just 16 years old, using money and power to manipulate her.
"He's also not only a prominent political figure. He's a profiteer and a perverse predator," said Anderson.
After a brief sexual relationship in 2020, Lazzaro is accused of trying to silence the girl with a non-disclosure agreement and $1,000 after she posted about their relationship on social media.
The victim's father was sent the NDA by Lazzaro's attorneys, which calls the relationship between the minor and Lazzaro "consensual."
"Lazzaro is so audacious and believes he has so much control over this youth and her parents and all those around him that he admits in this document seeking silence, of course," said Anderson.
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The lawsuit also sheds light on the relationship between Lazzaro and his accused co-conspirator, Gisela Medina.
"Gisela Medina clearly was somebody that not only was Lazzaro's recruiter, but Gisela Medina was also an enabler and a concealer," said Anderson.
It alleges the two met on "Seeking Arrangement", a dating website that previously connected young women with sugar daddies.
In exchange for money or gifts, Medina targeted girls she knew or found on social media with Lazzaro to hook up with.
In response to the civil lawsuit, Lazzaro's attorneys sent FOX 9 the following statement:
"The individuals who filed this lawsuit today showed the public that their true motivation is greed. That is why these individuals tried to extort Mr. Lazzaro in writing in 2020. Mr. Lazzaro refused to be extorted then and refuses to be extorted today."
Lazzaro will remain in jail until his criminal trial is scheduled to begin in October.
Medina is currently being extradited back to Minnesota from Florida by U.S. Marshals.