Bombshell

Leaked emails show Stormy Daniels’ strip club arrest was not exactly what it seemed

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is shown in this booking photo released by Franklin County Sheriff's Office, Columbus, Ohio, U.S., July 12, 2018. (Courtesy Franklin County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS)

Emails leaked by a whistleblower inside the Columbus Police Department in Ohio show detectives and vice squad officers conspired and plotted ahead of time, before Stormy Daniels even arrived in town, to arrest the former porn star during a performance earlier this month. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was arrested on July 11 and charged with inappropriately touching undercover officers who were inside Sirens strip club that night. The misdemeanor charges were dropped within 24 hours, however, after prosecutors agreed the seldom-used law under which police charged Daniels didn’t apply to her because she’s not a regular performer at the club.

Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, blasted the arrest and charges as “a political hit job.” But was it something even more? The Fayetteville Advocate obtained emails that appear to show Daniels’ arrest was a full-blown premeditated conspiracy hatched inside the Columbus Police Department and carried out under a false pretense.

At the center of the plot, the emails show, is Columbus vice detective Shana Keckley, who was one of the officers leading the “sting” operation and arrest of Daniels. In the emails, Keckley appears to coordinate the effort to target Daniels and fabricate the cover story intended to make it appear as though Daniels was not targeted: That the detectives were working a human trafficking investigation that Daniels just happened to get caught up in.

Keckley’s emails, many of which were sent from her personal Gmail address to her departmental email, included details on when Daniels was coming to Columbus and maps showing where she would be performing. The emails also included photos of Daniels and President Donald Trump, whom the adult film performer has claimed to have had a sexual relationship more than a decade ago.

Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels in a photo taken circa 2006. This is one of the images that turned up in Columbus vice detective Shana Keckley’s emails, which were leaked to a local newspaper by a whistleblower.

The city of Columbus is part of Franklin County in Ohio, which overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. However, it’s one of the few counties in the state that backed Clinton, and on an electoral map looks like a blue island in a sea of red. Trump carried Ohio by more than eight percentage points over Clinton.

After Daniels was apprehended and led into the police station in handcuffs, Keckley sent another email gloated about the arrest “I, Susan and Lancaster got the elements … we arrested Stormy this morning, she is in jail,” Keckley wrote in an email following the arrest. In the email, she appears to mention the name of other officers involved and used the term “elements,” which refers to the burden of proof police must gather to make an arrest. Another email, sent at 4:05 a.m., showed Keckley boasting that the news of Daniels arrest was “all over CNN,” and in another message she declares, “I work vice now!!”

“It is clear that Keckley and her fellow officers were there because of Stormy and only because of Stormy,” the unidentified whistleblower told The Fayetteville Advocate. In a post on Twitter, Avenatti also vowed to get to the bottom of the alleged plot to target his client.

Read the full story and see the leaked emails at The Fayetteville Advocate.

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