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New Evidence Reveals Columbus Police Filed Misleading Reports on Stormy Daniels Arrest

In internal documents obtained by The Appeal, the vice unit’s supervisor admits no specific complaints were lodged against Daniels or the club before the police took action.

Stormy Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New Evidence Reveals Columbus Police Filed Misleading Reports on Stormy Daniels Arrest

In internal documents obtained by The Appeal, the vice unit’s supervisor admits no specific complaints were lodged against Daniels or the club before the police took action.


When undercover vice officers in Columbus, Ohio, arrested adult entertainer Stormy Daniels and two other women at a strip club in July, they claimed to be investigating allegations of illegal activity. Daniels was accused of “fondling” patrons at the club, but the charges were quickly dropped, and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs acknowledged “a mistake was made.”

Soon after, a whistleblower leaked emails to the media indicating that the officers were specifically targeting Daniels, who was famously paid to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Donald Trump. The arrests were widely seen as politically motivated, and the FBI was called in to investigate the unit.

Now, internal Columbus police documents, obtained by The Appeal, suggest that Stormy Daniels’s arresting officers also provided court authorities with a misleading rationale for their undercover operation.

On their arrest reports and sworn court affidavits, the officers claimed that they “entered Sirens Gentleman’s [sic] Club,” where Daniels was performing that night, “as a result of complaints received alleging prostitution and drug activity.”

But in an internal interview afterward with a department investigator, the unit’s supervising commander, Terry Moore, admitted “there was no specific complaint at Sirens being investigated on the date that the arrests occurred,” according to the documents. Nor was Moore aware of “any specific complaint” against Daniels “that had been received by the Vice Section from outside sources.”

If you didn’t get any complaints on it, why are you working it? ... It's just because it's Stormy Daniels.Anonymous source, Columbus Division of Police

When asked whether authorities considered the officers’ statements about the complaints they “received” to be false or misleading, Denise Alex-Bouzounis, a spokesperson for the Columbus Division of Police, wrote in an email, “It would be inappropriate for us to comment,” citing the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the vice unit.

Edward Forman, an attorney suing the Columbus Division of Police on behalf of the two other strip club employees arrested that day, said Moore’s admission to investigators cast serious doubt on the veracity of the officers’ arrest reports. “It’s total bullshit,” he said in a phone call.

According to the internal police documents, Commander Moore told the investigator that the operation was “reasonable” because vice detectives had in the past “checked other strip club events of this type” and that it was a “carryover” from investigations into other clubs. He also claimed that the vice squad “was aware” of  “vice-related activities” occurring at Sirens and had done some “preliminary” investigative work there, though detectives had never been inside. This “carryover” line echoes what the Columbus police told news media after the leaks came out about the raid.

That's not how we do business. We don’t randomly go to one club and harass them.Anonymous source, Columbus Division of Police

But three sources within the Columbus Division of Police, who requested anonymity citing fears of professional reprisal, told The Appeal that explanation doesn’t hold water.

“If you didn’t get any complaints on it, why are you working it?” one asked. “Because I’m positive you have complaints in other places. It’s just because it’s Stormy Daniels.”

A higher-up in the Columbus Division of Police also questioned Moore’s account “That’s not how we do business,” the official said. “We don’t randomly go to one club and harass them. Nothing came in on Sirens. We have to have a reason to go in.”

With the FBI investigation ongoing, and the vice unit now on pause, the department has begun to discipline some of the officers involved in the arrest. Earlier this month, news broke that Steve Rosser, one of Daniels’s arresting officers, was put on desk duty because of information uncovered by federal investigators. Andrew Mitchell, another vice squad officer not involved in the raid, was also relieved of his gun and badge amid the FBI investigation. Mitchell was already the subject of an internal police investigation, when, in August, he shot and killed Donna Dalton in a prostitution arrest. 

If you are a current or former law enforcement officer, please contact us with tips. Reporter George Joseph can be reached on the secure phone app Signal at 929-282-2471 or by email at gmjoseph@protonmail.com. To ensure your messages are end-to-end encrypted, email with a free Protonmail or text with a Signal account.