Stormy Daniels Reaches $450,000 Settlement Over 2018 Strip Club Arrest

Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Donald J. Trump before he became president, reached a $450,000 settlement on Friday with the City of Columbus, Ohio, after suing over her arrest at a strip club in July 2018.

The arrest made headlines across the country, raising questions about whether politics had been at play and why it was a priority to send four vice detectives to a strip club.

Within 24 hours, Ms. Daniels was charged with three misdemeanors, bailed out and released, and the charges were dropped. The Columbus police later said the arrest had been a mistake.

Ms. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, sued the city in January for $2 million, citing false arrest and false imprisonment in violation of her civil rights.

Speaking to reporters after the settlement was announced, Ms. Daniels said she was “pleased.”

“I’m really proud of how the City of Columbus stepped up and took responsibility,” she said, adding that it was “actively making changes and holding those officers accountable.”

Clark Brewster, a lawyer for Ms. Daniels, said he was glad that the city “did a proper investigation and was critical of their own people.”

“The case that we filed for Stormy in relation to her illegal and wrongful arrest was based upon the fact that she was targeted not for what she had done, but for who she was,” he added.

“And we felt it was very important that this woman stand up for not just herself but for the other people who were treated or could be treated like that in the future,” he said.

Meredith Tucker, a spokeswoman for the city attorney’s office, said, “During today’s mediation, all parties agreed that a settlement of $450,000 was fair given the facts and circumstances involved.”

The settlement is subject to approval by the Columbus City Council, but there is no firm timeline on when the council will vote.

The 2018 episode began around 10 p.m. on July 11, when four vice detectives were sent to the Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in northeastern Columbus to investigate complaints “alleging prostitution and drug activity,” according to court documents.

CreditFranklin County Sheriff’s Office

The detectives said in affidavits that while dancing topless, Ms. Daniels pressed patrons’ faces into her chest and fondled the breasts of some women in the audience.

Ms. Daniels, who had a two-night gig at the club, performed similar acts on three officers and grabbed one by the buttocks, according to the affidavits. Ms. Daniels was arrested and charged with three counts of illegal sexually oriented activity, a misdemeanor, according to the arrest report.

But the charges were dropped the next day because the law under which Ms. Daniels was arrested applied to people who “regularly” appear nude or seminude at a particular establishment, and Ms. Clifford had not appeared at the club consistently.

The police chief at the time, Kim Jacobs, quickly acknowledged that “a mistake was made” and promised to review “the motivations behind the officers’ actions.”

An internal review later found that allegations that there had been a political motivation behind the arrest of Ms. Daniels were “not sustained,” but the review did determine that the arrest was improper.

The vice unit of the Columbus Division of Police became nationally known for the episode with Ms. Daniels and later became the subject of a federal corruption investigation. In March, about two weeks after one of its detectives was indicted on charges unrelated to the Daniels case, the unit was shut down.

In the Friday afternoon sunshine, Ms. Daniels was trailed by a scrum of reporters as she left the courthouse, saying she would “probably” use the money to pay her legal bills.

Asked if she believed the arrest had been politically motivated, Ms. Daniels said, “Maybe on a personal level for some of the people involved, but definitely not on the City of Columbus.”

She was also asked about her feelings toward other officers on the police force.

“I support the police. I admire them,” she said. “But with great power comes great responsibility.”

“I hope you guys do the right thing going forward, because there will be another Stormy Daniels,” she said.

She said she had been spending her time working on a podcast, promoting her book and performing stand-up comedy.

“To do any of this,” she told the reporters, “you have to have a good sense of humor.”

Christine Hauser, Matt Stevens and Jason M. Bailey contributed reporting.