COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) — Charges against porn actress Stormy Daniels were dropped Thursday hours after she was arrested at a Columbus strip club for allegedly letting patrons touch her in violation of a state law, her attorney said Thursday.
According to a tweet from her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, the Columbus City Attorney’s office approved a motion to dismiss the charges against Daniels.
Columbus City Attorney Zack Klein released the following statement Thursday afternoon:
My office has reviewed the charges filed by the Columbus Division of Police, and I’ve determined that these crimes were not committed, based on the fact that Ms. Clifford has not made regular appearances at this establishment as required under the law. We’ll do the same inquiry for the other defendants involved, as well. My office was not involved in this sting operation, so any additional questions about it must be directed to the Columbus Division of Police. The charges have been dismissed.
Avenatti says says the porn actress is “traumatized and rattled” after she was arrested the club.
Daniels will be performing at Vanity Gentlemen’s Club at 11pm Thursday, according to the club manager.
While Daniels was performing Wednesday night at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, some patrons touched her in a “non-sexual” way, Avenatti told The Associated Press.
Sirens is located at 6190 Cleveland Avenue.
An Ohio law known as the Community Defense Act prohibits anyone who isn’t a family member to touch a nude or semi-nude dancer.
Two other women were arrested: Miranda Panda of Marion (also known as Miranda Glass) and Brittany Walters of Pickerington. According to a press release from Columbus Police, Panda and Walters were charged with illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business.
Daniels received a total of three counts of the same violation for “illegally touching three different undercover Vice detectives.”
Columbus Police say in a press release that they “have made numerous arrests utilizing this law” since last fall, when they were “made aware of illegal activity through various adult entertainment clubs throughout the city.”
Police Chief Kim Jacobs also released a statement Thursday, saying “a mistake was made.”
The Columbus Division of Police Vice personnel are responsible for enforcing laws regulating alcohol sales, after-hours clubs, massage parlors, human trafficking, nuisance properties among other serious violations of law. The Division strives to do this work and all of our work in an impartial manner.
Vice personnel working last night believed they had probable cause that state law regulating sexually-oriented businesses was violated; however, one element of the law was missed in error and charges were subsequently dismissed. The facts behind the charges and the behavior witnessed by the Vice officers are a matter of public record, and officers were well within their area of responsibility when taking enforcement action. Nevertheless, a mistake was made, and I accept full responsibility.
While the presence of Vice officers at this establishment is reasonable, the motivations behind the officers’ actions will be reviewed internally to ensure that our Core Values and duty to serve our community to the best of our ability continue to be the basis for our actions. Some social media and other websites are reporting allegations that are not supported by the known facts, but anyone who has a specific complaint about our officers’ actions should call our Internal Affairs Bureau so we can initiate an investigation.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was released on bail before 6 a.m. Thursday. Avenatti Tweeted charges had been dropped at 12:47pm Thursday.
According to court documents, while performing, Daniels forced patrons’ faces into her breasts and began using her bare breasts to smack the patrons.
Documents also state that Daniels fondled the breasts of female patrons.
A spokesperson with the Columbus Division of Police confirmed that Daniels was arrested after illegally touching three different vice officers during her performance.
“This was a complete set up,” her attorney 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.”
Avenatti posted on Twitter on Thursday morning that Daniels will plead not guilty to three misdemeanor charges.
He also posted Daniels’ statement on Twitter early Thursday saying she apologized to her fans in Columbus, but she would not perform her previously scheduled Thursday night show. She will perform at Vanity Gentlemen’s Club.
A Columbus police spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A person who answered the phone at the strip club declined to comment.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with President Donald Trump in 2006 when he was married, which Trump has denied. She’s 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.