Stormy Daniels, the porn star who is suing President Donald Trump over a hush agreement regarding an alleged affair made days before the 2016 election, was arrested Wednesday while performing at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio. Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, is slamming the arrest as “politically motivated.”
According to records from the Franklin County Municipal Court, Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) was charged with three misdemeanor counts of illegally touching a patron. Ohio law dictates that an employee who regularly appears nude or seminude on the premises of a sexually oriented business is not allowed to touch anyone who’s not a family member while nude or seminude at that business.
Avenatti disputed the charges via Twitter early Thursday.
“Just rcvd word that my client @StormyDaniels was arrested in Columbus Ohio whole [sic] performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs,” he wrote. “This was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges. #Basta”
He added, “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? There has to be higher priorities!!! #SetUp #Basta.”
Avenatti wrote that he expected that Daniels would soon be released on bail.
“We will vehemently contest all charges,” he said, adding that Daniels will plead not guilty to the three charges.
Following months of denials and mixed messages about so-called hush money, Trump’s financial disclosure forms released in May documented for the first time that he reimbursed 2016 “expenses” of more than $100,000 by his embattled personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
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While the mandatory, annual filing did not specify what the payment was for, Rudy Giuliani has previously said that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 he had paid to Daniels, whose affair claims have been denied by Trump.
Cohen has admitted paying the settlement Daniels, made days before the 2016 election. Daniels claimed it was made to keep her silent about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
Trump told reporters in April aboard Air Force One he did not know about the 2016 payment to Daniels, which Cohen said he made through money obtained through his home-equity line of credit and for which he had not been reimbursed.
“The disclosure flies in the face of what Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen have been trying to tell the American people for months, and it directly contradicts Mr. Trump’s videotaped comments on Air Force One back in early April,” Avenatti previously told PEOPLE.
“The American people deserve the truth,” Avenatti continued, “and they deserve to have elected leaders and those close to those elected leaders not lying to them and covering up facts.”