Police say Stormy Daniels' arrest part of long-term human trafficking investigation

This photo provided by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, July 12, 2018, shows porn actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels was arrested at a Columbus, Ohio strip club and is accused of letting patrons touch her in violation of a state law, her attorney said early Thursday. (Franklin County Sheriff's Office via AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio's capital city say the arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels was part of a long-term human trafficking investigation.

Columbus police say they learned of illegal activity at city adult clubs last fall.

Police said Thursday they've made numerous arrests under a law regarding illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business. They didn't immediately provide the number of arrests.

Michael Avenatti is an attorney representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. He says he's skeptical of the police account, saying the intent of the undercover officers "did not appear to be to look for victims of human trafficking or prostitutes."

Police say two other women were arrested along with Daniels early Wednesday. They identified them as Miranda Panda of Marion, Ohio, and Brittany Walters of Pickerington in suburban Columbus.

Daniels was arrested at an Ohio strip club under a 2007 law introduced by a conservative religious group that some say has seldom been enforced.

Charging documents say Daniels, was arrested in a Wednesday performance for touching a patron in "sexually oriented" business in violation of the law known as the Community Defense Act.

The charges relate to the law prohibiting dancers from touching customers and customers touching dancers — excluding immediate family members. The Columbus Dispatch reported last year that the law is seldom enforced. Daniels was charged with three misdemeanor counts under that law.

A spokeswoman for Columbus' city attorney says the maximum penalty for conviction under one count is six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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