Adult-film actress Stormy Daniels was arrested at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio, and accused of “fondling” patrons and a police officer during a Wednesday-night performance, according to the authorities. The charges have since been dismissed by Ohio prosecutors.
Columbus police charged Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, with three misdemeanor counts of touching a patron at a “sexually oriented” busines, according to online court records.
An Ohio strip club law prohibits all patrons from touching a nude or seminude dancer unless the patrons are members of the dancer’s immediate family.
On Thursday afternoon, prosecutors dismissed the charges. Prosecutors said they did not have probable cause to pursue the case, according to court documents released by Daniels’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti.
Before the charges were dismissed, Avenatti said Thursday morning on MSNBC that police had set up a “sting operation” at Sirens strip club, where Daniels was performing.
According to the arrest report, vice officers reported to the club Wednesday night to investigate complaints about alleged drug activity and prostitution.
During Daniels’s 11:30 p.m. performance, the report states, people in the audience began throwing dollar bills at Daniels. While topless and wearing a G-string, she allegedly began “forcing the faces of the patrons into her chest and using her bare breasts to smack the patrons.” She is also accused of fondling the breasts of women in the audience, according to the report.
Two police detectives and an officer in the club noticed what Daniels was doing and approached the stage. As she performed in front of a female detective, the report states, Daniels leaned over, grabbed the detective’s head and “began smacking her face with her bare breasts and holding her face between her breasts against her chest.”
She then allegedly performed the same acts on a male detective and a third officer, according to the report, and began “fondling” that officer’s buttock and breasts.
Another police detective, who was standing near the bar area, saw it all happen, according to the arrest report. That detective then left the club to request help from patrol in arresting Daniels and two others, who were identified in the report as a dancer and a server.
Avenatti, Daniels’s lawyer, told The Washington Post that 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.”
During the show, Avenatti said on MSNBC, undercover police officers asked Daniels for permission to place their faces between her breasts.
Avenatti told The Post that Daniels was later approached by undercover officers informing her that she would be arrested. Avenatti said she was accused of allowing a patron to touch her while onstage in a “nonsexual manner.”
A Columbus police spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the arrest. Reached by The Post early Thursday, a representative for Sirens strip club declined to comment.
Daniels had been scheduled to perform at Sirens on Wednesday and Thursday night. After the arrest, she canceled her second performance. Once the charges were dropped, however, the show was back on.
Avenatti later tweeted that Daniels “refuses to be intimidated” and plans to “return to the scene of the ‘no crime’ tonight” for another scheduled performance at Sirens.
Daniels then tweeted: “Can’t stop the storm.”
Earlier this week, Daniels performed in Washington at the Cloakroom minutes before President Trump announced his Supreme Court nomination.
Daniels has been embroiled in a legal controversy with 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.