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MN GOP chair scrutinized after donor charged with sex trafficking

Anton "Tony" Lazzaro is closely connected with GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan.

MINNEAPOLIS — In better times for Anton "Tony" Lazzaro, he was seated right behind President Donald Trump during his 2018 visit to Duluth and quoted on FOX News for his Minnesota GOP perspective.

The young, wealthy Republican donor's social media sites show Lazzaro posing in his Ferrari and showing off stacks of 100-dollar-bills in his bathroom.

But now his mugshot shows a man facing 10 federal sex trafficking charges for allegedly recruiting six minor victims to engage in commercial sex acts.

There is a second person listed on the federal indictment but the name is secret until that person is arrested.

Court records also show in December -- at Lazzaro's swanky downtown Minneapolis condo -- the FBI seized his Ferrari, $371,000, 13 cell phones, computers and memory cards.

That's not all -- other court records reveal the feds also found hundreds of gold and silver bars, plus foreign currency.

Lazzaro is a California native whose grandfather was well-known in Los Angeles, a long-time USC administrator who helped plan the 1984 Olympics. When the younger Lazzaro moved to Minnesota, he started a political action committee.

All day Friday, Minnesota Republicans who've received donations from Lazzaro have been announcing they'll donate the same amount to charities that help victims.

Right now the Minnesota GOP is buzzing because of Lazzaro's close relationship with party chair Jennifer Carnahan. The two hosted a podcast together and were often seen together socially. When KARE 11's Lou Raguse reached Carnahan by phone, she denied knowing anything about Lazzaro's alleged crimes until she learned from the news.

The Minnesota GOP Executive Committee is meeting Friday night to discuss the developments.

RELATED: Former GOP campaign strategist charged in child sex trafficking conspiracy

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