Lawyer: Stormy Daniels charges dropped after Ohio strip club arrest

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Attorney Michael Avenatti says charges have been dropped against porn actress Stormy Daniels after she was arrested at an Ohio strip club and accused of letting patrons touch her in violation of a state law.

Avenatti, who claimed the arrest was the result of a politically-motivated sting operation, announced the news on Twitter.

Daniels was performing Wednesday night at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, when Avenatti said some patrons touched her in a "non-sexual" way. He told MSNBC later Thursday that police had prepared a sting operation with multiple officers and that 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.

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. According to charging documents obtained by WSYX-TV in Columbus, 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.

A prosecutor's memo provided by Avenatti says an 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.

She was released on bail before 6 a.m. Thursday. Court records show Daniels posted $6,000.

Police said two other women were arrested along with Daniels.

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.

Prior to the charges being dropped, Avenatti said that a not guilty plea to all counts would be entered on his client's behalf Thursday so she wouldn't have to make a court appearance Friday. He said Daniels 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.
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