Thursday 20 September 2018

Stormy Daniels arrested at US strip club

The porn actress’s lawyer said it was a ‘complete set-up’ and added she will plead not guilty to all counts.

Stormy Daniels was arrested at an Ohio strip club (Franklin County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
Stormy Daniels was arrested at an Ohio strip club (Franklin County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

By Catherine Lucey and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press

American porn actress Stormy Daniels was arrested at an Ohio strip club and is accused of letting patrons touch her in violation of a state law, her lawyer has said.

Michael Avenatti said that while Daniels was performing on Wednesday night at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, some patrons touched her in a “non-sexual” way.

He told MSNBC that police had prepared a sting operation with multiple officers.

Mr Avenatti said female undercover officers asked Daniels if they could place their face between her breasts.

“It was an absurd use of law enforcement resources,” he said.

An Ohio law known as the Community Defence Act prohibits anyone who is not a family member touching a nude or semi-nude dancer.

Daniels, who was semi-nude, allegedly touched some of the patrons’ breasts and allowed them to touch her, according to charging documents obtained by WSYX -TV.

She allegedly performed the same act with several officers who approached the stage and forced one officer’s head into her bare chest.

Columbus police said Daniels’s arrest was part of a long-term human trafficking investigation of illegal activity at city adult clubs.

They said they have made numerous arrests under the law regarding illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business, but did not immediately provide a number.

Daniels was released on bail before 6am local time on Thursday.

Court records show she posted 6,000 dollars (£4,500).

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, faces three misdemeanour counts of touching a patron at a “sexually oriented” business in violation of an Ohio strip club law.

Mr Avenatti said that a not guilty plea to all counts would be entered on his client’s behalf on Thursday, so she would not have to make a court appearance on Friday.

“This was a complete set-up,” he said.

“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.”

Mr Avenatti posted on Twitter a statement by Daniels that said she apologised to her fans in Columbus, but she would not perform her previously scheduled Thursday night show.

Daniels has said she had sex with President Donald Trump in 2006, when he was married, which Mr Trump has denied.

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

Press Association

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