Stephanie Clifford, who performs in strip clubs and films under the name Stormy Daniels, was arrested on Wednesday for “fondling” patrons and a police officer at a Columbus, Ohio burlesque house. Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti describes the arrest as “a setup & politically motivated.” There is ample reason to think he is right.
Clifford was charged under a 2007 ordinance, the Community Defense Act. As The Washington Post reports, “A spokesman for the Franklin County Sheriff’s office could find no instances in which the 2007 law had been used.” To enforce a law that has been rarely if ever used, the Columbus police deployed extraordinary resources. There were at least four police officers at the club, several of whom were undercover.
Clifford is, of course, best known for an ongoing legal struggle with President Donald Trump over payment he made to her, allegedly to not speak about a 2006 sexual encounter.
Former Trump campaign advisor A.J. Delgado tweeted:
Update: On Thursday, Michael Avenatti announced that all charges against Clifford had been dropped.