A judge has ruled in favor of adult film star Stormy Daniels over a lawsuit she filed against the city of Columbus, Ohio, after she was arrested at a strip club by police officers who she alleges had political motivations, NBC News reports.
The 40-year-old performer, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was arrested on suspicion of inappropriately touching an undercover officer during a performance at Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in July 2018. The charges against her were dropped hours later.
Daniels’ lawsuit alleges that the members of the Columbus vice unit who arrested her were fans of President Trump and targeted her in order to “protect” him. At the time of her arrest, news stories were circulating about her accusations that she was payed over $100,000 in hush money to keep quiet about an alleged affair she had with Trump before he became president.
City attorney’s office spokeswoman Meredith Tucker said that the settlement was reached with all parties agreeing the figure was fair “given the facts and circumstances involved.”
According to a 2018 report in Vanity Fair, leaked emails suggested that the arrest was a “setup.”
The Columbus Police Department originally said that the arrest was the result of “a long-term investigation into allegations of human trafficking, prostitution, [and] other vice related violations” at the club, but e-mails obtained by the Fayette Advocate suggested that Daniels was targeted by the officers.
One of the arresting officers allegedly e-mailed herself content related to Daniels, as well as a map to the strip club a day before the arrest, presumably after seeing advertisements Daniels had put out for her appearance. After the arrest, she allegedly wrote to another officer, “You’re Welcome!!!!! [. . .] Thank me in person later.” She did not mention Daniels by name in any of the emails.
As The New York Times points out, the charges against Daniels were dropped because the law under which she was arrested applied only to people who “regularly” perform nude or seminude at any given club, and Daniels was not a regular performer at that particular club.
Kim Jacobs, who was the department’s chief at the time, acknowledged that “a mistake was made” and promised to review “the motivations behind the officers’ actions.” The department’s internal investigation concluded that the arrest was not in keeping with policy, though it found no “direct evidence” of any political motivation.
Featured image via WeHoCity/Flickr