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Stormy Daniels. (Franklin County Sheriff's Office)

Ohio police chief on Stormy Daniels arrest: 'A mistake was made'

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Updated July 12, 2018 05:31 PM EDT

By SARAH WYNN, WSYX/WTTE

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs has issued a statement on the arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels.

Daniels was arrested Wednesday night in northeast Columbus and her charges were dropped Thursday afternoon.

Jacobs addressed the incident in a statement:

"Vice personnel working last night believed they had probable cause that state law regulating sexually-oriented businesses was violated; however, one element of the law was missed in error and charges were subsequently dismissed. The facts behind the charges and the behavior witnessed by the Vice officers are a matter of public record, and officers were well within their area of responsibility when taking enforcement action. Nevertheless, a mistake was made, and I accept full responsibility."
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs

Daniels will appear again at Sirens in northeast Columbus Thursday night, she announced on Twitter.

She also said all tips from her stage performance will go toward the legal fees of the other two dancers who were arrested.

Updated July 12, 2018 01:33 PM EDT

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Charges were dropped Thursday against porn actress Stormy Daniels, just hours after she was arrested while performing at an Ohio strip club and charged with letting patrons touch her in violation of a state law.

Her attorney said she was set up in a Columbus police sting operation, something police deny.

Charging documents say Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was arrested for touching a patron at a "sexually oriented" business in violation of the law commonly known as the Community Defense Act.

The documents said that 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. Daniels posted $6,000.

The charges relate to the law prohibiting dancers from touching customers and customers touching dancers — excluding immediate family members. The arrest followed a performance Wednesday night at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, told The Associated Press that some patrons touched Daniels in a non-sexual" way during her performance.

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.

The three counts against Daniels were first-degree misdemeanors, with a maximum penalty for one count would be six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Thursday afternoon, city prosecutors dropped the charges, saying the Ohio illegal touching law can't be enforced because Daniels has only appeared once at the Columbus club.

The law refers to someone "who regularly appears nude or seminude" at a club. Avenatti successfully argued Daniels "has not appeared consistently and repeatedly at Sirens," according to prosecutors.

Police said two other women were arrested along with Daniels. Prosecutors are also checking whether those women will be prosecuted, said City Attorney Zach Klein.

Columbus police said Thursday that Daniels' arrest was part of a long-term human trafficking investigation of illegal activity at city adult clubs. They say they've made numerous arrests under the law regarding illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business, but did not immediately provide a number.

The police department "engages in these operations routinely," said spokesman Sgt. Dean Worthington.

Daniels's whereabouts were unclear. Her attorney said earlier in the day she planned to leave the state Thursday.

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 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 she signed days before the 2016 presidential election.

___

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles, Catherine Lucey in Washington, Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati and Bob Lentz in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

Updated July 12, 2018 12:21 PM EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio's capital city say the arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels was part of a long-term human trafficking investigation.

Columbus police say they learned of illegal activity at city adult clubs last fall.

Police said Thursday they've made numerous arrests under a law regarding illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business. They didn't immediately provide the number of arrests.

Michael Avenatti is an attorney representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. He says he's skeptical of the police account, saying the intent of the undercover officers "did not appear to be to look for victims of human trafficking or prostitutes."

Police say two other women were arrested along with Daniels early Wednesday. They identified them as Miranda Panda of Marion, Ohio, and Brittany Walters of Pickerington in suburban Columbus.

By CATHERINE LUCEY and MICHAEL BALSAMO , Associated Press

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was arrested at an Ohio strip club and is accused of letting patrons touch her in violation of a state law, her attorney said early Thursday.

Stormy Daniels arrives at an Ohio Jail

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.

WSYX/WTTE reports citing the official complaint, three officers approached the stage, Daniels placed her breasts first on the female officer's face and then did the same to the other two officers. The report adds that a fourth officer then called for assistance. The officers were undercover at the time.

Daniels was released on bail at 6 a.m. Thursday, according to WSYX/WTTE reports.

Stormy Daniels leaves an Ohio jail

Her lawyer stats that Daniels will issue a plea of not guilty at her arraignment, Friday morning.

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.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was in police custody early Thursday morning and was expected to face a misdemeanor charge, Avenatti said.

"This was a complete set up," he said. "It's absurd that law enforcement resources are being spent to conduct a sting operation related to customers touching performers in a strip club in a non-sexual manner."

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.

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