Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Donald J. Trump before he became president, was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio, her lawyer said Thursday.
Ms. Clifford, who performs under the name Stormy Daniels, had been scheduled to appear at Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in northeastern Columbus on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the club’s website.
She was charged with three counts of misdemeanor sex offenses, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. She was released from the Jackson Pike jail in Columbus on Thursday after posting $6,054 cash bail.
The charges “stem from an allegation that while performing, she engaged in touching with customers who turned out to be undercover vice officers,” Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, Michael J. Avenatti, said in a telephone interview. Mr. Avenatti said that Ms. Clifford would plead not guilty.
The ever-present Michael Avenatti, tweeted about the arrest, claiming it “was a setup and politically motivated,” adding, “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?”
Under Ohio law, an employee who regularly appears nude or seminude is prohibited from touching patrons on the premises of a sexually oriented business — unless it’s a family member.
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.
Lawyer: Feds canceled Stormy Daniels interview 00:32
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, and then forced the officer’s head between her breasts and smacked the officer’s face with her breasts.
Daniels was one of three people arrested at the club, but it’s unclear who the other two were.
CNN has reached out to the Columbus Police Department for more details.
The Sirens Gentlemen’s Club had posted on its website that Daniels was scheduled to perform there Wednesday and Thursday. A person who answered the phone at the club declined to comment. Avenatti tweeted that his client would not perform at the club Thursday night.