Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Stacey Benson address the media during a Tuesday press conference detailing a federal lawsuit against Anton Lazzaro. (YouTube photo)


Lawyer Jeff Anderson files 3-count suit alleging sex-trafficking, obstruction, conspiracy


A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday labels Anton Lazzaro a predator who used his status as a political high flyer to sexually exploit an underage girl.

The lawsuit was filed in Minnesota U.S. District Court. It names a minor child and her parents as plaintiffs. The plaintiff family is identified only as Father, Mother and Minor Doe.

Jeff Anderson, the attorney who filed the suit, gained national prominence pursuing Catholic clergy’s sexual exploitation of children. His three-count civl complaint accuses Lazzaro of violating several federal laws by engaging in the sex-trafficking of a minor, obstruction and conspiracy.

It seeks recovery of “medical, economic and other special damages.” It also seeks attorney’s fees and demands a jury trial.


These photos are among those that Anton Lazzaro posted on social media depicting himself as a rich, powerful political player.



According to federal criminal indictment against him, Lazzaro, 30, attracted underage victims for commercial sex acts using an intermediary, Gisela Castro Medina, 19, who also is criminally charged.

At the time, Lazzaro was a major political donor to the Republican Party and a confidant of now-ousted state party chair Jennifer Carnahan. Medina was the Minnesota College Republicans chapter chair at the University of St. Thomas.

Tuesday’s lawsuit notes that Lazzaro often publicly flaunted his wealth and political connections, posting photos of himself on social media holding wads of cash, sitting atop a private jet and driving a Ferrari. His photos often showed him next to prominent conservative political figures, including former President Donald Trump.

“Upon information and belief,” the complaint says, “Lazzaro actively displayed his wealth and political connections as a means to intimidate and coerce others.”

Anderson spoke briefly with Session/Law after a public press conference Tuesday. Though the observation is not specifically state in his civil complaint, Anderson said that Lazzaro’s status “as a big power player in the GOP is very clear.”

In the interview, Anderson added that Lazzaro’s travel patterns, uncovered during his office’s civil-suit investigation, shows “a real nexus” between his allegedly exploitative conduct and “his money, his personality and his position in the GOP.”


Gisela Castro Medina

Gisela Castro Medina

‘Sugar babies’

Lazzaro met Medina through a website called “Seeking Arrangement”—also dubbed “Seeking.” It is described as a dating platform connecting “sugar daddies” and “sugar babies” for relationships that offer “financial support in exchange for companionship and possibly sex.”

At some point in 2020, the lawsuit contends, Lazzaro engaged Medina to recruit underage females for him. Says the lawsuit:

“Medina targeted girls and women that she knew or that she discovered on social media and introduced them to Lazzaro in exchange for money and gifts. Minor Doe was one of the minor children that Medina and Lazzaro targeted for sex trafficking as a part of their enterprise.”

The complaint says that Medina met Minor Doe sometime around 2018, when she was about 14 and Medina was 16. They established a social friendship, through which Medina gained Minor Doe’s trust.

Around May 2020, Medina began grooming Doe to be trafficked by establishing for the child that Lazzaro was “a powerful, prominent and wealthy businessman and political figure,” the complaint says. Medina then arranged an in-person meeting between Minor Doe and Lazzaro, “who was seeking to sexually exploit the Minor Doe for himself,” the complaint says.

From about May to July 2020, the complaint says, Lazzaro arranged for cars to bring Minor Doe to his downtown Minneapolis residence. During that time, he committed multiple commercial sex acts against the victim in violation of federal law, the complaint says.

Lazzaro later tried to buy the girl’s silence with a non-disclosure agreement and proposed payment of $1,000, the complaint alleges. The agreement sought the signatures both of the minor child and her father, Anderson said. Once signed, the NDA was meant to prevent public disclosure of the girl’s relationship with Lazzaro.

“In other words, if you do [disclose], we will sue you for defamation,” Anderson said at the press conference. “And if you don’t sign this, you’re in trouble.” He called the NDA offer an act of intimidation.


Attorney makes contact

On July 29, 2020, the complaint alleges, the plaintiff father received a phone call from an attorney, Daniel Adkins, on behalf of Lazzaro and Medina. The lawyer allegedly offered “hush money and a non-disclosure agreement,” which Anderson described as a “gag order.”

The attorney for Lazzaro and Medina accused Doe’s daughter of seeking to defame his clients on social media, the complaint says. That five-page non-disclosure agreement, allegedly later sent by Adkin’s law partner James Gempeler, threatened the father and daughter with legal claims of “disparaging social media posts, whether all are true or not” and “a potential damage-to-property claim,” according to Tuesday’s civil complaint.

The proposed agreement also states that Lazzaro and the girl “had a consensual interaction in the recent past.”

The father, who Anderson said knew nothing of his daughter’s alleged exploitation, refused to sign and instead contacted law enforcement, the complaint said.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Anderson said that the Doe family actually contacted his law office first. The firm then urged the family to report the case to law enforcement, sparking a criminal investigation, he said. “It’s why we do this,” Anderson said. “It’s why we’re here.”

Anderson credited Minor Doe with “using her voice” by posting a social media message about her exploitation. “This courageous minor found a way and had the courage to speak her voice and post something over a year ago about Lazzaro and Medina,” Anderson said. “That posting set into motion a series of events that now brings us here today.”

Anderson said Lazzaro’s alleged sex-trafficking operation involved at least “a half dozen other kids.” He also said that four individuals, including Lazzaro, have been identified as “a part of this enterprise,” either through knowing about it, trying to enable it or helping to keep it secret.

“It’s really scary what they did and tried to do here,” Anderson said.

Jeff Anderson and Stacey Benson

Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Stacey Benson address the media during a Tuesday press conference detailing a federal lawsuit against Anton Lazzaro. (YouTube photo)

‘Permanent’ distress

The episode has caused Minor Doe to suffer pain and severe, permanent emotional distress, the complaint says. It has also caused “embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, humiliation and psychological injuries, sexual confusion, depression,” and will continue preventing her from performing normal daily activities and obtaining the “full enjoyment of life.”

She will also face ongoing medical and psychological treatment costs. The parents, meanwhile, have suffered the loss of consortium with their daughter and have been saddled with her ongoing therapy expenses.

“Plaintiffs demand judgment against defendant in an amount to be proven at trial plus costs, disbursements, reasonable attorney fees, interest, and whatever other relief the court deems just and equitable,” the complaint concludes.

In his interview with Session/Law, Anderson would not say if he expects to represent more civil plaintiffs in future lawsuits against Lazzaro and his purported sex ring. “The answer for today is we are representing this one family on behalf of this one survivor,” he said. “What will happen in the future, I can’t say.”

He said his law office’s civil investigation continues, however, parallel to ongoing criminal probes by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He said that if his investigators uncover additional criminal allegations, they immediately will report them to law enforcement.

Anderson urged anyone who has experienced similar exploitation by Lazzaro’s alleged sex-trafficking enterprise to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

It wasn’t clear at the time of this writing who is representing Lazzaro in the civil matter.

Lazzaro’s federal criminal trial before U.S. District Court Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright is slated to start on Oct. 18.


Session/Law logo by Kirk Anderson