Adult film star Stormy Daniels performed in an Ohio strip club Thursday night after charges prompted by her appearance the night before in another venue were dismissed.
Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, gained notoriety after suing President Donald Trump following an alleged affair.
She had faced three misdemeanor counts of illegally touching a patron, including three undercover detectives, while performing at Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in Columbus on Wednesday night.
She performed at a different venue Thursday night, but in the same city. She was originally scheduled for another performance at Sirens that night, but her attorney, Michael Avenatti, said she opted to find another club.
Daniels was seen entering the Vanity Gentlemen’s Club on Thursday evening. When she left later, CNN’s Sara Sidner asked if she was hoping for an apology from Columbus city.
“No,” she replied. “I think they (Columbus police) were doing their jobs and there was a miscommunication.”
Daniels said the past 24 hours had been “intense, but totally worth it.”
Detectives among patrons she allegedly touched
In a probable cause affidavit obtained by CNN affiliate WSYX, detectives who were at the Sirens Gentlemen’s Club said they observed Daniels remove her top and force patrons’ faces into her chest.
“The officers also observed Ms. Clifford fondling the breasts of female patrons,” Franklin County Municipal Court records show.
When officers witnessed those activities, three detectives approached the stage. Daniels allegedly made her way toward two detectives, leaned over and grabbed their faces. She shoved each of their faces between her breasts, court documents said.
She fondled a third officer’s buttocks and breasts, according to the documents, forced the officer’s head between her breasts and smacked the officer’s face with her breasts.
Ohio law prohibits touching patrons
Under an Ohio law passed in 2007, an employee who regularly appears nude or seminude at a sexually oriented business is prohibited from touching patrons, except for family members.
Because Daniels does not regularly appear at the club, the charges were dismissed, according to court documents.
“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,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said in a statement after reviewing the case.
Daniels had planned to plead not guilty to the three misdemeanor charges, Avenatti tweeted.
The arrest of Daniels and two others was part of a “long-term investigation into allegations of human trafficking, prostitution and other vice-related violations,” Columbus police said in a statement.
Avenatti calls the charges bogus
Earlier, Avenatti had criticized the charges as “bogus.”
“She was arrested for allegedly allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a nonsexual manner! Are you kidding me?” Avenatti tweeted. “They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this? There has to be higher priorities.”
Avenatti said Daniels was arrested while “performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs.”
“This was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation,” his tweet said. “We will fight all bogus charges.”
Columbus police said they have made numerous arrests based on this law since last fall when authorities became aware of illegal activity at adult entertainment clubs in the city.
Daniels made headlines worldwide over revelations of an alleged affair with Trump in 2006 — and for the $130,000 she said she received from his attorney in 2016 in exchange for her silence. The White House has said Trump denies an affair happened.
She is suing Trump and his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to be released from a nondisclosure agreement that she says she signed days before the 2016 presidential election to prevent her from publicly discussing the alleged affair.
Avenatti alleges the payment was a violation of campaign finance law and was designed to suppress speech. Trump has said he personally reimbursed Cohen for that payment.
She was arrested under a rarely used law
Layken Curry, a dancer at Sirens Gentleman’s Club, said dancers are not allowed to have contact with the customers and must maintain a one-arm distance from them. If that space is violated by customers, they are generally escorted out. If a dancer violates it, management usually takes care of the matter, she said.
Curry said she has never seen anyone get arrested in the 2½ years she has worked at Sirens, nor has she had any experience with the law while on the job.
“I am all for following the rules and going by the book, no touching, no this, no that,” she said. “But also at the same time, in my opinion, I feel like it was completely harmless. She was putting on a show. The people paid money to see her. Why not?”