Police in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday claimed their arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels at a local strip club for allegedly touching undercover cops stemmed from a long-term probe of human trafficking, prostitution and other vice crimes at local adult hot spots.
In response, Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told CNBC: "I have serious doubts about the truthfulness of that press release" by the department.
Earlier Thursday, meanwhile, Avenatti told MSNBC that he has been told female police officers had approached Daniels during her performance at the club and "asked her if they could put their faces between her breasts."
Police said that Daniels had repeated physical contact with patrons at the club and that she also forced the faces of several undercover officers into her breasts during the show.
Daniels, 39, was arrested early Thursday morning at the Sirens strip club in Columbus. It was the latest stop on an ongoing tour that has garnered widespread attention due to her claims of having had a sexual encounter with President Donald Trump in 2006. The White House has denied Daniels' claims.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was charged with touching three different undercover vice officers during her performance. She was released on $6,000 bond hours later after being booked on three counts of illegal sexually oriented activity in a sexually oriented business. Ohio law bars nude or semi-nude dancers from having physical contact with non-family members during a performance.
Avenatti said he would be entering a not guilty plea for Daniels on Thursday, which would mean she would not have to appear for an arraignment scheduled in court Friday.
On the heels of the bust, Avenatti said it was "politically motivated" and "reeks of desperation."
But police claimed otherwise in a Twitter post Thursday morning.
Avenatti said on MSNBC that the arrest of Daniels was "an absurd use of law enforcement."
He also said that "I understand there have been other performers arrested in Columbus" for similar crimes "and prosecutors have decided not to press charges."
Avenatti said he has been in contact with prosecutors and that he believes they will be "reasonable." Avenatti later tweeted that prosecutors had indeed dropped the charges.
Meredith Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Columbus City Attorney's Office, told CNBC that "we're in conversations with defense counsel. We're doing our due diligence but at this point cannot comment further because of pending litigation."
An arrest report released by police said three Columbus detectives and one police officer went into Sirens at 10 p.m. Wednesday "investigating Vice related offenses as a result of complaints alleging prostitution and drug activity." The police were two men and two women, records show.
At 11:30 p.m., Daniels took the main stage and began performing, police wrote.
"During her performance after removing her top exposing her breasts she began forcing the faces of patrons into her chest and using her bare breasts to smack the patrons," police wrote. "The officers also observed Ms. Clifford fondling the breasts of female patrons."
The reports said that three of the police in the club then approached the stage, and "Ms. Clifford made her way over to Det. Keckley and began performing in front of her." Keckley is a woman.
"Ms. Clifford leaned over, grabbed Det. Keckley's head and began smacking her face with her bare breasts and holding her face between her breasts against her chest," police said.
Daniels then did the same thing to Detective Lancaster, a man, according to the report, and later fondled "Ofc. Praither's buttock and breasts," the report said.
"She then forced Ofc. Praither's head into her chest between her breasts and began smacking her faces with her breasts," police wrote.
At the time this was all going on, Detective Steve Rosser was watching it happen from the bar area, according to the report.
Rosser had been accused of entrapment in 2015 by a Municipal Court judge in Columbus, according to a report in The Columbus Dispatch.
Judge David Tyack in that case found that Rosser improperly persuaded employees of a Columbus bar to serve alcohol to a minor, according to the newspaper.
Rosser was a friend of a number of the bar’s employees. He had played on the bar’s volleyball team and was previously involved in a romantic relationship with one of the bartenders, the judge noted.
Columbus police declined to comment on Rosser or the Daniels case overall.