In July of last year, porn director/actress and former paramour to the president Stormy Daniels was arrested at a Columbus strip club on suspicion of inappropriately touching an undercover police officer. Prosecutors, who said the law under which Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, was arrested only applied to performers who regularly danced at the venue. She was in Columbus between dates on her nationwide “Make America Horny Again” tour.
A subsequent investigation looked into allegations that pro-Trump officers conspired to entrap the actress, who had come forward with her claims of a sexual relationship with Common Sense’s Unsexiest Man Alive in March of that year.
In 2016, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s then-personal lawyer paid Daniels $130,000 to deny she had an affair with Trump in 2006 while Trump was appearing on his “Apprentice” series. On March 6, 2018, Daniels filed suit against Trump, claiming that the president had never signed their non-disclosure agreement while alleging Trump had tried to bully her into silence.
On March 25, Daniels told 60 Minutes that she had sex with Trump once, and that she had been threatened to sign an NDA while she was with her young daughter.
According to ABC News, an internal department review revealed Daniels’ arrest was improper, though not politically motivated or premeditated.
According to police, officers at Sirens trip club that night had been targeting the club—not Daniels—as part of an ongoing investigation into possible human trafficking, underage drinking and drug dealing. Their focus narrowed to an investigation of illegal touching between customers and dancers, at which point the officers placed themselves “unnecessarily, at risk and potential for physical contact with Ms. Clifford,” according to the report.
The law cited as a part of Daniels’ arrest says patrons at “sexually oriented” businesses are barred from touching dancers and vice versa. Columbus city attorney Zack Klein called the law “glaringly inequitable,” as its applicability is attached to the regularity with which a specific dancer or employee performs at the club in which the behavior is observed. Klein also added that dancers who touch police in clubs could not be liable as police are not legally considered patrons.
Klein, in July, according to NBC4:
In light of the recent charges filed under this statute, we have recognized there is a glaring inequitable application of the law, which treats people differently for the same conduct based on the frequency of their appearances at sexually oriented businesses,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “For this reason, and for the concern over the definition of ‘patron’ as applied to law enforcement, we have issued a directive to the Columbus Division of Police to notify them that we will no longer be prosecuting these charges.
Clifford, according to police, never made a complaint “about any officer making a political related remark or statement to her about President Trump,” according to vice section lieutenant Ronald Kemmerling.
Earlier this year, Daniels filed suit against three Columbius officers for $2 over her arrest. Two dancers arrested alongside Daniels filed similar suits.