Charges against adult film actress and stripper Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, have been dropped, according to Columbus, Ohio, police.
What are the details?
According to a Thursday Columbus Police Department news release, Clifford’s arrest Wednesday night reportedly stemmed from an ongoing investigation into human trafficking and prostitution.
The release added that Clifford, along with two employees, were charged with “Illegal Sexually Oriented Activity in a Sexual Oriented Business.”
Clifford was charged with “three counts of the same violation for illegal touching three different undercover Vice detectives.”
You can see the full release below.
BREAKING: Police say Stormy Daniels’ arrest part of long-term human trafficking investigation pic.twitter.com/7rSduPfn8l
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 12, 2018
Clifford reportedly “held the face of [a] female [undercover] officer between her breasts” and did the same to a male undercover officer. Clifford also reportedly “fondled the buttocks and breasts of another officer” at one point during the performance.
Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s lawyer, issued a further statement on Twitter later Thursday.
He wrote, “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.”
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
But why were the charges dropped?
According to CNN, the charges were dropped because Clifford is not a regular employee at the Columbus, Ohio, club.
An Ohio law passed in 2007 states that “an employee who regularly appears nude or seminude at a sexually oriented business is prohibited from touching patrons, except for family members,” according to the CNN report.
Because Clifford does not regularly appear at the Columbus strip club, charges were dismissed.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein explained the stance in a statement.
Klein said: “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.”
After the undercover investigators witnessed Clifford touching strip club patrons, they approached the stage where Clifford was performing, and Clifford made her way toward them — apparently not realizing that they were undercover officers — and treated them much in the same manner as she had previous patrons.
You can read more details in the police affidavit below.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 12, 2018
In a telephone interview with the New York Times, Avenatti expounded on Daniels’ arrest.
“[T]here are undercover vice officers that came to the club for the purpose of trying to get her to touch them so that they could then arrest her, which is ludicrous,” Avenatti said.
“My understanding is that a number of undercover officers were female, which was not unusual to my client because a huge number of women are turning out to see her shows,” he added. “And a couple of officers asked her to allow them to place their face in between her breasts.”
“I am not going to comment on what transpired after that,” Avenatti continued. “I think that this is one of the poorest uses of law enforcement resources I believe I have ever heard of in my lifetime.”