Stormy Daniels wins $450,000 payout over strip-club arrest

WASHINGTON: Adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Donald Trump before he became president, has won $450,000 in a legal settlement with the city of Columbus, Ohio, over her arrest last year at a strip club, officials said on Friday.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was arrested in 2018 at the Sirens Gentlemen’s Club on sexual misdemeanor charges which were quickly dropped.

In a lawsuit filed in January, Daniels alleged her arrest was politically motivated and sued for false arrest and false imprisonment in violation of her civil rights.

Daniels, who originally sought damages of $2 million, settled her suit on Friday for almost a quarter of that amount, telling reporters “it was never really about the money, it was the changes that were made and bringing awareness”.

Standing with Daniels on the courthouse steps, her attorney Clark Brewster said the case was “based upon the fact that she was targeted not for what she had done, but for who she was”.

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The settlement comes at the end of a week in which a formal impeachment inquiry has been launched into Trump over a scandal involving the president of Ukraine, throwing the spotlight onto other lawsuits and investigations being carried out into his affairs.

These include a probe by New York prosecutors into illegal payoffs made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, to buy the silence of Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claimed to have had affairs with Trump before he ran for president.

Cohen testified that the payment he made to Daniels, which was ruled an illegal use of campaign funds, was ordered and reimbursed by Trump himself — a possible criminal act.

When asked by NBC4’s WCMH-TV Columbus if she had any comment on Trump’s possible impeachment, Daniels said, “sometimes it tingles to be the spark”.

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