Stormy Daniels Arrested and Charged Under Seldom-Used Law
Pornstar Stormy Daniels was arrested at an Ohio strip club under a 2007 law introduced by a conservative religious group that some say has seldom been enforced.
Charging documents say Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was arrested in a Wednesday performance for touching a patron in "sexually oriented" business in violation of the law known as the Community Defense Act.
The charges relate to the law prohibiting dancers from touching customers and customers touching dancers — excluding immediate family members. The Columbus Dispatch reported last year that the law is seldom enforced. Daniels was charged with three misdemeanor counts under that law.
A spokeswoman for Columbus' city attorney says the maximum penalty for conviction under one count is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
While Daniels was performing Wednesday night at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, some patrons touched her in a "non-sexual" way, her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told The Associated Press.
He told MSNBC later Thursday that police had prepared a sting operation with multiple officers. He said female undercover officers asked Daniels if they could place their face between her breasts.
"It was an absurd use of law enforcement resources," Avenatti said.
A message left for the city attorney spokeswoman wasn't immediately returned.
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.
According to charging documents obtained by WSYX-TV in Columbus, Daniels, who was semi-nude, allegedly touched some of the patrons' breasts and allowed them to touch her. She allegedly performed the same act with several officers who approached the stage and forced one officer's head into her bare chest.
She was released on bail before 6 a.m. Thursday. Court records show Daniels posted $6,000.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was set for arraignment Friday on three misdemeanor counts of touching a patron at a "sexually oriented" business in violation of an Ohio strip club law.
Avenatti said that a not guilty plea to all counts would be entered on his client's behalf on Thursday, so she wouldn't have to make a court appearance Friday.
Avenatti posted on Twitter a statement by Daniels that said she apologized to her fans in Columbus, but she would not perform her previously scheduled Thursday night show.
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 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.