CLEVELAND, Ohio — Adult film star Stormy Daniels and the city of Columbus have agreed to a $450,000 settlement to resolve a lawsuit she filed against vice officers who arrested her at a strip club in July 2018.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, reached the settlement Friday following an hours-long mediation, her attorney Clark Brewster said in a brief phone interview.
“The upshot is this: the arrest was illegal,” Brewster said. “The lengths to which they went to incarcerate her and put her in the cage and haul her off in the paddy wagon. It was orchestrated and calculated because of who she was, not what she had done.”
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein’s spokeswoman Meredith Tucker said all parties agreed that the settlement was fair given the facts and circumstances involved. She said the City Council must give its approval.
Daniels gained notoriety after speaking out about an affair she had with Donald Trump prior to his becoming president, and a payment she said she received to keep quiet in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
She filed suit in January over her arrest by undercover vice detectives at the strip club Sirens. Columbus police initially said her arrest was part of an investigation into human trafficking and prostitution, though Daniels said that was false and was instead a way to cover a political motivation.
She initially sought more than $2 million in damages for violations of her free-speech rights and malicious prosecution.
Police later said Daniels put her hands on an officer’s buttocks and put her breasts in an officer’s face, which formed the basis for her arrest. Officers also arrested two others on similar allegations on charges of violating Ohio’s “no touching” law.
Klein dropped the misdemeanor charges against Daniels and the others shortly after their arrests. He said the allegations against Daniels did not fit within the state’s law that regulate a stripper’s ability to touch a customer while performing.
An investigation conducted by the police department’s internal affairs did not sustain an allegation of political motivation by the officers involved. The investigators did find that the arrest was improper.
Brewster said there may not have been a collective political motive, but that a few officers may have had such motivations.
Interim police Chief Tom Quinlan recommended firing two officers involved, as well as suspending a sergeant and lieutenant. The chief also recommended a commander receive a written reprimand.
The department disbanded the vice unit in March following several controversies, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Brewster said the city’s lawyers came into mediation with good faith and not with the mentality to try and deny everything. He said they dealt with the case in an “intellectually honest fashion” and that he was glad to see the city making changes.
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