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Stormy Daniels arrested by Columbus police while performing at strip club

By Patrick Cooley • Jul 12, 2018 at 9:31 AM

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was arrested in Columbus during her performance Wednesday night at a Northeast Side strip club.

While Daniels was performing at Sirens, a strip club at 6190 Cleveland Ave., she touched several patrons and police officers, which may be a violation of Ohio's Community Defense Act, which prohibits patrons from touching a nude or semi-nude dancer, or their clothing, in a club, anywhere on the premises or the parking lot.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted that the touching was in a "non sexual" way.

At least four Columbus police officers attended Daniels' performance at Sirens, and an affidavit filed in Franklin County Municipal Court says Daniels touched three of the officers — both men and women — during her performance.

Around 11:30 p.m. the officers watched Daniels take the stage and take her top off, the affidavit said.

Nearly all of the club's customers approached the stage and started throwing dollars bills at the performer, the affidavit said. Daniels then forced the faces of several customers into her chest and smacked the sides of their heads with her breasts. She touched the breasts of several female customers.

Three officers approached the stage after watching Daniels make contact with the customers and the performer treated them in a similar manner, forcing their faces into her chest and touching the breasts and buttocks of a female officer, according to the affidavit.

Officers arrested Daniels without incident.

The affidavit doesn't say if the officers were in uniform during the performance. At least one of the officers was assigned to the vice squad.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was taken to the Franklin County Jail early Thursday, where she was charged with three misdemeanor counts of a sexually-oriented-business employee touching a patron, according to court and jail records. She posted $6,000 bond plus fees and was released. An arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.

Daniels had been scheduled to perform on Wednesday and Thursday nights at Sirens as part of a nationwide tour. On Monday night, she was performing at a club in Washington, D.C.

She has canceled her scheduled Thursday night performance at Sirens, according to a statement posted on Twitter by Avenatti.

"This was a complete set up," Avenatti told The Associated Press. "It's absurd that law enforcement resources are being spent to conduct a sting operation related to customers touching performers in a strip club in a non-sexual manner."

Daniels' arrest may be the first time the law, which was enacted in 2007, has ever been applied in Franklin County. Last year, the Franklin County Sheriff's office found no instances in which the law had been cited.

"We have not had any complaints or reasons to apply this law. We have gone back as far as we have records for, and nothing has been found," spokesman Marc Gofstein said at the time.

Daniels has been at the center of media attention for months after saying she had sex with President Donald Trump in 2006, a year after Trump married his current wife, Melania. Trump has denied the affair.

Daniels is suing Trump and his former longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement that she signed days before the 2016 presidential election.

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©2018 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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