GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn — Editor's note: The video above first aired in August of 2021.
A judge has ordered former political strategist Anton Lazzaro to remain jailed as he awaits trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
The order filed Tuesday cites Lazzaro's alleged past behavior, including threatening members of law enforcement and a federal prosecutor, and attempting to intimidate witnesses.
In the order, Judge Patrick J. Schiltz wrote, “The Court is unable to identify any set of conditions that will reasonably assure that Lazzaro will not continue in his efforts to influence his alleged victims and threaten and intimidate government officials."
The order alleges Lazzaro attempted to "obstruct the government's investigation" by persuading "one of the victims and that victim's parent" to sign a non-disclosure agreement in return for $1,000. He is also accused of collecting personal information about officers to "intimidate" them, and threatening one of the assistant United States attorneys assigned to the case, telling another officer the prosecutor was "going to regret this."
Lazzaro is charged with 10 sex trafficking crimes for allegedly recruiting six minors to engage in commercial sex acts.
Last month, Lazzaro's attorney asked a federal court to release several items that had been seized during the investigation, including a 2010 Ferrari, 38 laptops, tablets, phones and storage devices, and more than $371,000 in cash. Lazzaro's attorney claims the property is not related to the case because his client wasn't profiting from sex trafficking.
Included in last month's filing was a previously sealed search warrant, alleging several victims told Lazzaro they were 16 years old when Lazzaro allegedly paid them to have sex with him. One victim claimed she heard Lazzaro tell co-defendant Gisela Castro Medina that he wanted her to recruit girls as young as 13 or 14.
Lazzaro has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. He is currently being held in the Sherburne County Jail.
The next motions hearing in Lazzaro's case is scheduled in U.S. District Court on Nov. 16.