Tony Lazzaro requests release with Truman Show-level monitoring

Tony Lazzaro, the GOP donor who is facing charges for sex trafficking of minors, is asking a federal judge for his release on bond subject to "Truman Show" conditions including 24-hour video surveillance and location surveillance with an ankle monitor.

The 31-year-old Minneapolis-based Republican strategist faces five counts of sex trafficking of a minor, a count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, and another count of attempted sex trafficking, along with three counts of obstruction, according to an unsealed indictment. He is scheduled to appear in federal court in St. Paul at 2 p.m. Tuesday for a detention and arraignment hearing.

Lazzaro asks for real-life Truman Show

According to the motion for bond filed Tuesday morning:

"Mr. Lazzaro is seeking an order from the Court setting the most restrictive bond conditions imaginable. Mr. Lazzaro is asking the Court to place him on home confinement. Mr. Lazzaro is asking the Court to require him to wear an ankle monitor with GPS location tracking. Mr. Lazzaro is asking the Court to require the installation of cameras in every area of the residence where he would stay during home confinement. Mr. Lazzaro is asking the Court to require that those cameras provide a real-time live video feed accessible by U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services 24 hours a day. Mr. Lazzaro is asking to be allowed to leave the Sherburne jail to effectively go reside in a jail of the Court’s own making with even more restrictions on his freedom than his current jailers impose. Mr. Lazzaro does not make this request lightly."

Lazzaro provided the court with a floor plan for his three-bedroom, 19th floor downtown Minneapolis condo, including marking of where high-definition cameras are already installed. Lazzaro proposed a security and surveillance plan for his condo that includes biometric fingerprint access to the unit and a network of cameras directly accessible by federal agents, also equipped with anti-tampering systems. 

"Taking the cameras together with the recommended use of bio-metric locks on areas where Mr. Lazzaro cannot go inside the home Mr. Lazzaro will be living inside a real-life "Truman Show" scenario," the motion states.

Request to live with mom in California

If the court does grant Lazzaro’s conditional release, he does make an addition request for the court to consider allowing him to live with his mother in California. 

"Additionally, Mr. Lazzaro would have the benefit of his living just blocks away from his brother who is a licensed attorney and officer of the court," the motion states. "If the Court were to allow Mr. Lazzaro to reside in California pending trial, then undersigned counsel would offer to accompany Mr. Lazzaro on a commercial flight directly from Minneapolis to California so that the Court does not worry about the risk of fleeing."

Who is Tony Lazzaro?

Anton "Tony" Lazzaro called himself an entrepreneur, and his greatest project may have been one of self-invention.

On social media the 30-year-old posed with a roster of Republican politicians, like former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and U.S. Senator Mitt Romney. He posed shirtless sitting in his red Ferrari, lived in a luxury downtown Minneapolis condo with penthouse views, and flew by private jet. He posted pictures of himself often with young, beautiful women. 

It looked good to be Tony Lazzaro. Until it didn’t. Keep reading

Co-conspirator Gisela Castro Medina

Gisela Castro Medina, 19, was arrested Aug. 12 on the same charges, hours after the indictment against Lazzaro came down. She made a brief initial court appearance in Florida, but will be transported to Minnesota where she will remain in custody. The St. Paul teen was a member of Minnesota College Republicans. The organization released a statement, confirming that Medina recently assumed the role of Chair for the University of St. Thomas chapter, where she is a student.

"We as an organization are absolutely disgusted by the actions of Ms. Medina, and have cut all ties with her effective immediately," the organization wrote in a statement.

The University of St. Thomas also responded with a statement, saying, "The details of these allegations are very disturbing and saddening. St. Thomas condemns these actions and we pray for the victims. Under our student code of conduct, St. Thomas students charged with a felony will be interim suspended pending further proceedings." 

FBI: More victims possible

Federal officials said that based on the evidence obtained in the investigation, authorities believe there may be additional victims of the alleged conduct. Anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call the FBI Minneapolis Division at 763-569-8000.

Minnesota GOP fallout: Carnahan resigns

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan resigned last Thursday night after facing a week-long torrent of criticism and calls for her ouster.

Carnahan made the announcement minutes after the Minnesota GOP Executive Board narrowly voted to give her a severance package of 3 months' pay worth about $36,000. The vote was 8-7; Carnahan cast the deciding vote.

Carnahan's support on the GOP's Executive Committee and elsewhere within the party crumbled after the arrest of Tony Lazzaro, a close friend and major donor. In her resignation letter, Carnahan said she had "no knowledge or involvement in those activities."