Emails suggest Columbus police may have targeted Stormy Daniels

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jul 26, 2018

A Columbus, Ohio, vice officer researched Stormy Daniels in the days before she took part in arresting Daniels at a strip club earlier this month. The officer was sending herself emails that included Daniels' photos, a video of her and a map with the location of the strip club where she was performing.

The emails, obtained by CNN through open records laws, suggest Daniels was targeted, which contradicts a statement by the Columbus Police Department immediately after the arrest.

Officer Shana Keckley used her personal e-mail account to send e-mail to her official police account two days before Daniels was arrested at the Sirens Strip Club. Keckley took part in the raid and had her head between Daniels' breasts at the club, according to court documents. She sent emails to colleagues seemingly giddy about the arrest after the fact. Keckley was one of two officers who signed statements saying their faces were "pushed" between Daniels' breasts.

"Your welcome!!!!....I work Vice now!!! :D.... Thank me in person later," Keckley wrote to a fellow officer at 3:50 in the morning after the July 12 arrest. Attached to that email was the legal complaint against Daniels that had been filed in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Immediately after the arrest, Columbus police suggested that Daniels was caught in a larger sting operation that was part of a "long-term investigation into allegations of human trafficking, prostitution, & other vice related violations," according to a statement.

But the emails sent by Keckley suggest that police had knowledge Daniels was to appear at the club days prior to her arrest. Charges were dropped against Daniels just 12 hours after her arrest. Police Chief Kim Jacobs later said,"... officers were well within their area of responsibility when taking law enforcement action. Nevertheless, a mistake was made, and I take full responsibility."

Daniels alleges she had an affair with President Donald Trump in 2006. The White House has said Trump denies an affair happened.

One of the emails Keckley sent herself is a now-famous photo of Daniels standing with Trump at the golf tournament where Daniels has said she had unprotected sex with Trump. Keckley also sent herself a YouTube video of Daniels titled: "Stormy Daniels Just Got the Key to West Hollywood." In a third email, she sends a local news story that says, "Stormy Daniels will appear at Columbus Strip Club in July." Another of her emails has the club's Twitter page showing Daniels is going to appear and a pinned map showing the address of the club.

The emails were first reported by the Fayette Advocate.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, is questioning whether there was a political motivation behind his client's arrest.

"They targeted my client. They planned to entrap her at that performance that night and they subsequently succeeded," Avenatti told CNN. "And if ultimately it shows that in fact it was politically motivated, and they purposely sought her out and attempted to use the force of the badge and the law in order to arrest her, that's a very serious matter."

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, was arrested for allegedly violating a no-touch law during her striptease performance. In court documents, three undercover officers reported touching or being touched by Daniels.

"The officers also observed Ms. Clifford fondling the breasts of female patrons," Franklin County Municipal Court records show.

When officers witnessed those activities, three detectives approached the stage. Daniels allegedly made her way toward two detectives, leaned over and grabbed their faces. She shoved each of their faces between her breasts, court documents said. The newly released documents reveal Keckley was one of the two officers who had her face in Daniels' breasts.

In another email Keckley mentions Daniels by name saying, "I got the elements...we arrested Stormy Daniels last night."

"There is an internal investigation by the Columbus Division of Police underway concerning the arrest of Stephanie Clifford. Because of the ongoing investigation we can't comment further," Columbus police spokesman Denise Alex-Bouzounis told CNN.

The Columbus mayor's office was also made aware of the case. Robin Davis, the director of media relations in Mayor Andrew Ginther's office, told CNN: "No one in the mayor's office is in possession of the emails. The Columbus Division of Police is conducting an internal investigation into the arrests. Any comments should come from CPD."

As for Daniels, she performed at another club in Columbus the night after her arrest. Outside the club on July 13, she faced reporters who asked if officers need to apologize.

She responded with a smile saying, "No. no they don't. I think they were doing their jobs and there was a miscommunication."