• LIVE UPDATES: Charges dropped hours after adult film star Stormy Daniels arrested

    By: Michelle Ewing, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - Porn star Stormy Daniels was arrested at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio, on allegations that she touched undercover police officers while performing.

    Here are the latest updates:

    Update 1:30 p.m.

    Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein confirmed in a statement Thursday that charges have been dismissed against Daniels following her arrest at Siren’s Gentleman’s Club.

    Daniels was arrested on three misdemeanor counts of illegal sexual oriented activity in a sexually oriented business. Two other performers, identified by police as Miranda Panda and Brittany Walters, were also arrested.

    “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,” Klein said. “We’ll do the same inquiry for the other defendants involved, as well.”

    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. (1/2)

    — Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein (@CityAttyKlein) July 12, 2018

    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. (2/2)

    — Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein (@CityAttyKlein) July 12, 2018

    Update 12:55 p.m.

    Daniels’ attorney confirmed Thursday afternoon that charges were dropped against his client.

    I am pleased to report that the charges against my client @stormydaniels have been dismissed in their entirety (below motion was just granted). I want to thank Joe Gibson & his colleagues at the prosecutors ofc for their professionalism starting with our first call early this am. pic.twitter.com/xHPSWsyqM2

    — Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) July 12, 2018

    Police arrested Daniels early Thursday while she was appearing at Siren’s Gentleman's Club in Columbus. She was arrested after she inappropriately touched undercover officers who were at the strip club as part of a long-term sting operation unrelated to Daniels, according to police. She was charged with three counts of illegal sexual oriented activity in a sexually oriented business.

    The charges were based on a 2007 Ohio law that prohibits anyone who isn't a family member from touching a nude or semi-nude dancer, according to The Associated Press. However, officials noted in a motion to dismiss the case that the law applies only to regular performers

    "In this case, there has been no evidence provided to the State that Defendant appears or has appeared regularly at Sirens," Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein wrote in the state's motion to dismiss.

    Daniels was scheduled to appear twice at Sirens, on Wednesday and Thursday night. However, Avenatti announced her second scheduled appearance had been canceled in light of her arrest.

    Update 11:10 a.m.

    The state law used early Thursday to justify the arrest of Daniels and two other performers at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, has been used 88 times in Franklin County since 2008, WCMH reported.

    The 2007 law was introduced by a conservative religious group and bars dancers from touching customers and vice versa, save for immediate family members, The Associated Press reported. Police said Daniels was charged with three counts of illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business as part of a long-term investigation of alleged human trafficking and prostitution in Columbus.

    A spokeswoman for Columbus’ city attorney told the AP that the charges carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine per count, should Daniels be convicted.

    Update 10:45 a.m.

    Police said they arrested Daniels and two other performers early Thursday at Sirens in Columbus "as part of a long-term investigation into allegations of human trafficking, prostitution, along with other vice related violations."

    In a news release Thursday, officials said Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, was arrested along with Miranda Panda, of Marion, Ohio, and Brittany Walters, of Pickering, Ohio.

    Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said she will plead not guilty to three misdemeanor counts of illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business. In an appearance Thursday morning on MSNBC, Avenatti characterized his client’s arrest as being part of a “sting operation.”

    Update 7:38 a.m.

    Daniels issued a statement saying her Thursday performance in Columbus has been canceled.

    Meanwhile, WSYX’s Mike McCarthy tweeted that police also arrested two other performers on illegal touching charges at the Sirens strip club overnight.

    Update 6:52 a.m.

    Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted that his client will plead “not guilty” to the charges.

    Update 6:41 a.m.

    WSYX’s Mike McCarthy reports that Daniels was released from jail on $6,000 bond. 

    WCMH reporter Matt Edwards tweeted that “Daniels was picked up minutes ago by a sedan with WV plates.”

    Update 6:03 a.m.

    WCMH reporter Hattie Hawks tweeted that Daniels’ “bond has been posted by Denver Nicks.”

    Update 5:49 a.m.

    The charging documents reveal more information about the allegations against Daniels.

    Update 5:16 a.m.

    WSYX’s Mike McCarthy tweeted that Daniels “is accused of touching three @ColumbusPolice officers during her appearance at #Sirens.”

    According to WBNS, Daniels fondled patrons and undercover officers, police said.

    Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, told WBNS that his client’s arrest “was politically motivated.”

    He added: “There's no question these officers were undercover at that strip club. They knew my client would be performing there, and I find this to be a complete waste of resources.”

    WBNS reporter Tino Ramos also shared a video of Daniels walking into the Jackson Pike Correctional Facility.

    Update 4:33 a.m.

    WCMH’s Matt Edwards just tweeted a photo that appears to show officers leading Daniels into the jail.

    Update 4:22 a.m.

    WCMH is reporting that Daniels’ arraignment is scheduled for Friday morning at Franklin County Municipal Court.

    Daniels is being charged with “illegally sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business,” a first-degree misdemeanor, according to WCMH’s Olivia Fecteau.

    Meanwhile, comedian Kathy Griffin took to Twitter to call out Columbus area law enforcement.

    Update 3:28 a.m.

    According to WCMH reporter Olivia Fecteau, Daniels “has not yet been booked into jail.” Jail workers said Daniels will be booked at the Franklin County Correctional Facility II on Jackson Pike, Fecteau tweeted.

    Update 2:52 a.m.

    Daniels was performing at a club called Sirens when she was arrested, WCMH reporter Olivia Fecteau tweeted early Thursday. When Fecteau called the club, the person on the line declined to comment, she said.

    According to Fecteau, “Ohio Revised Code 2907.40 outlines charges against either a patron who touches an employee (or vice versa) who is nude or semi-nude. Depending on what happened, the charge can be a first- or fourth-degree misdemeanor.”

    Original report: Porn star Stormy Daniels has been arrested in Columbus, Ohio, her attorney tweeted early Thursday.

    “Just rcvd word that my client @StormyDaniels was arrested in Columbus Ohio [while] performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs,” wrote Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ lawyer. “This was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges. #Basta.”

    In a second tweet, he added: “She was arrested for allegedly allowing a customer to touch her while on stage 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!!! #SetUp #Basta.”

    He continued: “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. #Basta.”

    Daniels, born Stephanie Clifford, claims that she had sex with Donald Trump in 2006, more than a decade before he became president. Daniels is now suing Trump and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement that she signed days before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen reportedly paid her $130,000 after she signed the agreement.

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