Adult film star Stormy Daniels, who is locked in a court battle with President Donald Trump over their alleged affair, was arrested after allegedly “fondling” patrons at a strip club — a move her lawyer calls a “politically motivated” setup.
Daniels, 39, was apprehended without incident during her performance late Wednesday at the Sirens club in Columbus, Ohio after officers accused her of knowingly touching club patrons “in a specified anatomical area.”
According to an incident report published online by a local news outlet, two police detectives and an officer approached Daniels, who was topless and wearing a G-string, onstage after she was seen “using her bare breasts to smack the patrons” and “fondling the breasts of the female patrons.”
Daniels allegedly began holding her breasts against one female detective’s face, before then “forcing” the face of a male officer into her chest and “smacking his face with her bare breasts.”
She performed the same acts on a male officer after “fondling” his buttock and chest.
Ohio’s Community Defense Act prohibits employees who regularly appear “nude or semi-nude on the premises of a sexually oriented business” from being touched by or touching club-goers, unless they are members of the dancer’s immediate family.
Another officer in the back of the venue went to get backup before arresting Daniels, who was released on bond early Thursday.
Her lawyer Michael Avenatti offered a different version of events, saying multiple “undercover” officers “asked” for the touching.
“Unbeknownst to her the police set up a sting operation within the strip club,” he told MSNBC Thursday morning.
“During her performance, they asked her if they could place their face in between her breasts while she was performing on stage,” he said.
“And she said yes.”
– ‘Ridiculous’ –
Avenatti vowed he and Daniels would “vehemently” contest the three misdemeanor charges, and would plead not guilty.
“I think this is ridiculous,” he said. “I think it’s an absurd use of law enforcement resources.”
Avenatti said Daniels would not appear at her arraignment scheduled for Friday at Ohio’s Franklin County Municipal Court, and would likely leave the state Thursday afternoon.
In a statement posted by Avenatti, Daniels said “As a result of what happened last night, I will unfortunately be unable to go forward with tonight’s scheduled performance.”
“I deeply apologize to my fans in Columbus,” she said.
Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — is suing Trump and his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to nullify a 2016 non-disclosure agreement preventing her from speaking out about the affair she says she had with Trump in 2006.
Just days before the 2016 election, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence.
She is hoping to have the non-disclosure agreement thrown out on the grounds that it is not valid because Trump never signed it.
Asked if Daniels’ arrest could impact her legal wrangling with Cohen, Avenatti said “not at all.”
“We think that the prosecutor is going to be reasonable in how they approach this,” he said. “I think they are going to be diligent and appear to be incredibly professional.”
Through White House officials, Trump has denied the affair with Daniels, although Cohen has admitted paying her $130,000 as part of the agreement.
He initially said he used his own money to pay Daniels and was not reimbursed by Trump.
However, Trump — who initially denied knowledge of the payment — subsequently conceded that Cohen was in fact reimbursed.