COLUMBUS, Ohio—Stormy Daniels was arrested Wednesday night for performing her strip club act in a Columbus venue, according to a Twitter post by her lawyer, Michael Avenatti. (Scroll down for the latest updates to this story.)
Daniels is currently suing Donald Trump over a 2016 “hush” agreement in which she received $130,000 to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she had with Trump 10 years earlier.
Avenatti called the arrest “politically motivated.”
“Just rcvd word that my client @StormyDaniels was arrested in Columbus Ohio whole [sic] performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs,” the lawyer wrote on Twitter. "This was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges.”
UPDATE 1:45 PM EDT: Prosecutors have dismissed all charges against Daniels, according to court documents posted by Avenatti. Prosecutor Joseph Gibson said that the state had “no probable cause” to pursue the charges against Daniels.
According to Gibson’s statement to the court, the law allegedly violated by Daniels (see below) that prohibits nude or semi-nude performers from “touching” patrons while on the premises of a “sexually oriented business” applies only to those who “regularly” appear at that business.
But Gibson said that police offered no evidence that Daniels appeared at the club on a regular basis, meaning “consistently and repeatedly.” As a result, prosectors would not be able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Daniels broke the “no touching” law, he told the court.
UPDATE, 7/12/18, 11:05 AM EDT: An arrest report released Thursday morning and reported by WBNS -TV News in Columbus reveals that Avenatti’s claim of “a set up” may have considerable merit, because Daniels was arrested by undercover police officers for breaking an 11-year-old Ohio law that as of 2017 had never been applied in the county where Daniels was busted.
“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,” a Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson said in September of last year.
But on Wednesday night, undercover police officers were present at Sirens, the club where Daniels was performing, apparently waiting for her to break the scarcely enforced law — in what is a routine part of her strip act, and many others' strip acts.
“Daniels began dancing around 11:30 Wednesday night. During her performance, officers in the club said they witnessed Daniels using her bare breasts to smack patrons. The officers also said they observed Daniels fondling the breasts of female patrons, according to the arrest report, as recounted by WBNS.
“When the officers approached the stage, Daniels held the face of the female officer between her breasts. It also says she did the same to a male officer. The report goes on to say Daniels fondled the buttocks and breasts of another officer,” the WBNS account of the arrest report continues.
Daniels was released Thursday on $6,054 bail, according to court records cited by The Hill. Avenatti reiterated in a statement to WBNS that that arrest was carried out for political reasons — presumably due to Daniels’ lawsuits against Trump, which have received widespread publicity.
Avenatti said via Twitter that Daniels was charged with three misdemeanor counts, and planned to enter pleas of not guilty to all of them.
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About 20 minutes after his initial tweet Avenatti posted a second message stating that the reason for Daniels’ arrest was that she has allowed a customer in the club to touch her “in a non-sexual manner.”
“Are you kidding me? They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this? There has to be higher priorities!!!” Avenatti wrote on his Twitter account.
An Ohio law "known as the Community Defense Act bars any non-family members from touching a nude or semi-nude dancer," according to CBS News.
The arrest came two days after Daniels performed her strip show at a Washington D.C. club about one mile from the White House where, at that same time, Trump announced his pick of Brett Kavanaugh to take a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
Avenatti soon posted that Daniels would be out on bail “shortly.”
“We expect her to be released on bail shortly. We also expect that she will be charged with a misdemeanor for allowing ‘touching.’ We will vehemently contest all charges,” he wrote on Twitter.
Photo By Gary / Wikimedia Commons