Police: Stormy Daniels' arrest part of long-term human trafficking probe; charges dismissed

Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who has sued President Donald Trump, was arrested Thursday morning, July 12, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. (photo courtesy WBNS)

COLUMBUS (WBNS) - Charges against Stormy Daniels were dropped Thursday afternoon.

The adult film actress, who gained notoriety after suing President Donald Trump following an alleged affair, and two other women were arrested in Columbus overnight. Authorities say the arrests were part of a long-term human trafficking investigation.

Columbus police tell WBNS, our sister station in Columbus, they learned of illegal activity at adult clubs in the city 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."

While Daniels was performing Wednesday night at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, some patrons touched her in a "non-sexual" way, according to Avenatti. The police report, though, says officers in the club witnessed Daniels touching multiple patrons in a sexual way, and then did the same to officers when they approached the stage.

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, nor can the dancer touch anyone else.

An article by the Columbus Dispatch last year couldn't find any instances when that 2007 law resulted in charges being filed. Avenatti said he thought the charges were politically motivated because of Daniels' lawsuit against President Trump.

Avenatti announced on Twitter around 12:45 p.m. that prosecutors had dropped the charges against Daniels.

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