Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels was arrested at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio for allegedly allowing a patron to touch her while on stage in a “nonsexual manner,” her lawyer, Michael Avenatti said early Thursday morning.
Following a performance at the Columbus strip club called Sirens Wednesday night, Daniels was approached by multiple undercover officers informing her that she would be arrested for allowing the patron to touch her, Avenatti said in an interview with The Washington Post.
The lawyer said Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is expected to be charged with one or more misdemeanors. Early Thursday she remained in custody awaiting a determination of bail, Avenatti said.
An Ohio strip club law prohibits patrons from touching a nude or seminude dancer unless the patron is a member of the dancer’s immediate family.
Avenatti claimed the arrest was a politically-motivated “sting operation.” He said his client was “performing the same performance that she has conducted at over a hundred strip clubs around the country.”
“This is ridiculous that law enforcement resources were used to conduct this sting operation,” he said. “There has to be a better purpose for such resources.”
Avenatti expected her to be released on bail shortly and vowed to “vehemently contest all charges,” he tweeted.
“This was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges,” Avenatti tweeted.
A Columbus police spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation of the arrest. Reached by The Washington Post early Thursday, a representative for Sirens strip club refused to comment.
“We are highly confident that in the unlikely event that the district attorney proceeds with charges that she will be found not guilty,” Avenatti said.
The Ohio strip club law prohibiting the touching of dancers, the Community Defense Act, was proposed by a Cincinnati-based conservative religious organization and approved in 2007. But according to a Columbus Dispatch article in Sept, 2017 the law has rarely been used since then.
A spokesman for the Franklin County Sheriff’s office could find no instances in which the 2007 law had been used, he told the Dispatch.
Daniels planned to be in Columbus Wednesday and Thursday as part of a nationwide tour, Avenatti said. The club, Sirens, advertised Daniel’s appearance on Twitter ahead of Wednesday night’s performance.
Earlier this week, Daniels performed in Washington at the Cloakroom, located about halfway between the Capitol and the White House, minutes before President Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination.
Daniels has been entrenched in a legal controversy with President Trump over their alleged 2006 encounter, which he has repeatedly denied. She is suing Trump and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to void a hush agreement she says she signed during the 2016 presidential campaign.
After denying knowledge of the payment, President Trump admitted in May that his longtime lawyer, Cohen, was reimbursed through a monthly retainer for a $130,000 payment made to Daniels in 2016 to stop what Trump called “false and extortionist accusations” about a decade-old affair.
This story will be updated