Adult film star Stormy Daniels who was arrested by Columbus Police vice officers in July 2018 has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the four officers involved in her arrest.
Stephanie Clifford, who is more commonly known by her stage name of Stormy Daniels, filed the federal lawsuit Monday morning, seeking a minimum of $2 million in damages.
According to the lawsuit, Clifford is accusing vice officers Shana Keckley, Whitney Lancaster, Mary Praither and Steven Rosser of violating her civil rights by arresting her on July 11.
Clifford had performed at Sirens, a strip club on Cleveland Avenue, on July 11, 2018. Shortly after her performance, Clifford was arrested and accused of violating a portion of Ohio law related to the improper touching of gentlemen’s club patrons by performers. Two other women, Miranda Panda and Brittany Walters, were also arrested.
The charges against all three women were later dropped by Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, whose office has since ceased prosecuting the cases.
In her lawsuit, Clifford accuses the vice officers of targeting her for political reasons and the division with helping to coverup the motivations for the arrest.
Clifford had gained international notoriety in the months before her appearance at Sirens because of a lawsuit she filed against President Donald Trump related to a payment stemming from an affair Clifford had with Trump.
The lawsuit says two of the detectives involved in Clifford’s arrest are registered Republicans and a third is a well-known supporter of Trump.
The lawsuit cites emails from Keckley and social media postings purported to be from the officers.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for malicious prosecution, false arrest, civil conspiracy to violate Clifford’s rights, abuse of process and defamation.
“By maliciously releasing false statements to public newspapers and broadcasters and on social media platforms strongly implying Ms. Clifford was engaged in immoral conduct ... Defendants defamed Ms. Clifford causing injury to her reputation and exposing her to contempt, ridicule, shame and disgrace in the community,” the lawsuit states.
Lancaster and Rosser have both been relieved of duty as a result of a FBI probe into the vice unit, sparked in part by Clifford’s arrest.
In December, the vice unit resumed some operations but new rules put in place by Chief Kim Jacobs and Deputy Chief Tim Becker remain in effect. Those rules prohibit vice detectives from going into strip clubs with explicit consent from either Jacobs or Becker.
The lawsuit was filed locally by attorneys Chase Mallory and Daniel Sabol. Michael Avenatti, Clifford’s California-based attorney, is also listed as a consulting attorney on the case.