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Stormy 'set up'?

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.

Prosecutors dropped charges Thursday against Stormy Daniels just hours after the porn actress was arrested and accused of illegally rubbing under police officers' faces against her bare breasts during a performance at an Ohio strip club.

Her attorney said she was "set up" in a Columbus police sting operation, calling it an "absurd use of law enforcement resources." Police said they routinely conduct such undercover operations at clubs.

The 39-year-old adult film star who claims to have had sex with President Donald Trump was charged with three misdemeanours, each punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. She was released on $6,000 bail around daybreak Thursday.

By early afternoon, prosecutors said they were dropping the case because Ohio's law against physical contact between strippers and customers applies only to someone who "regularly" performs at a club. In Daniels' case, it was her first appearance at Sirens in Columbus.

Police said Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, smacked the faces of two female officers and one male officer with her bare breasts. Officers knocked on the door of her tour bus after the performance and took her into custody.

Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Daniels was "traumatized and rattled" following the arrest.

She was booked under a 10-year-old state law known as the Community Defence Act that says dancers at "sexually oriented" businesses are prohibited from touching customers and vice versa.


ORIGINAL 5:20 a.m.

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was arrested at an Ohio strip club and is accused of letting patrons touch her in violation of a state law, her attorney said early Thursday.

While Daniels was performing Wednesday night at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, some patrons touched her in a "non-sexual" way, her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told The Associated Press.

An Ohio law known as the Community Defence Act prohibits anyone who isn't a family member to touch a nude or semi-nude dancer.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was expected to face a misdemeanour charge, Avenatti said.

She was released on bail before 6 a.m. Thursday.

"This was a complete set up," he said. "It's absurd that law enforcement resources are being spent to conduct a sting operation related to customers touching performers in a strip club in a non-sexual manner."

Avenatti posted on Twitter on Thursday morning that Daniels will plead not guilty to three misdemeanour charges.

He also posted Daniels' statement on Twitter early Thursday saying she apologized to her fans in Columbus, but she would not perform her previously scheduled Thursday night show.

A Columbus police spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A person who answered the phone at the strip club declined to comment.

Daniels has said she had sex with President Donald Trump in 2006, when he was married, which Trump has denied. She's suing Trump and his former longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement that she signed days before the 2016 presidential election.

___

Associated Press writers Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati and Bob Lentz in Philadelphia contributed to this report.



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