Last year’s arrest of porn actress Stormy Daniels at an Ohio strip club was improper but not politically motivated or pre-planned, an internal-affairs Columbus police investigation concluded.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, was arrested at Sirens Gentlemen’s Club last July for violating the state’s “no-touch” law, which prohibits strippers from touching patrons. She, along with two other employees of Sirens, were charged with Illegal Sexually Orientated Activity in a Sexually Orientated Business. 

The charges were dropped hours later after City Attorney Zach Klein said he would not prosecute because the state law was “legally problematic.”

Over several years, local prosecutors had advised Columbus police that Ohio’s ban against strippers touching patrons was nearly impossible to enforce, especially when using undercover cops as patrons.

Despite that, officers “chose to take enforcement action using a legal code that contains provisions that are difficult to enforce,” according to the months-long internal investigation.

The investigation, which included 19 interviews and examination of more than 11,000 emails and 30 hours of video, found that vice detectives involved made an improper arrest.

According to the investigative summary, the Columbus police personnel had gone to Siren’s undercover to look for signs of human trafficking, drug sales or use, underage drinking and prostitution.

However, the officers worked to obtain charges “by placing themselves, unnecessarily, at risk and potential for physical contact with Ms. Clifford,” the investigative summary stated.

The investigation looked into allegations that Columbus officers who support President Donald Trump conspired to retaliate against the porn star. Daniels sued Trump and allegedly was paid to keep quiet about a sexual encounter the two had before he became president. Though, Trump denies the affair.

The sting at Sirens was “loosely arranged and done on very short notice,” according to the internal investigation. “No evidence was found…that a formal, long-term, coordinated, clear objective or well-defined plan was created, with design, to target Ms. Clifford.”


Police said the investigation report will now be forwarded to the commander of the narcotics bureau and the investigative subdivision deputy chief, Tim Becker, for review and potential discipline.

In January, the city of Columbus paid a total of $150,000 to settle a similar lawsuit filed by the other two Sirens employees, Miranda Panda and Brittany Walters. The suit alleged that they suffered emotional distress and the arrest was politically motivated.

Daniels has also filed a lawsuit against the four officers involved in her arrest.