Photo: AP

Earlier this month, adult film star Stormy Daniels was arrested while performing at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio. She was accused of touching patrons while performing, which is illegal under Ohio law. The next day, the charges were dropped.

The arrest raised suspicions at the time as potentially politically motivated. Daniels has been at the center of a controversy surrounding her alleged affair and subsequent hush money payment from Donald Trump.

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In light of new evidence, it seems that those fears were legitimate. A whistleblower provided local newspaper the Fayette Advocate with emails from the Columbus Police Department that seem to show officers planning to arrest Daniels days before she came to town. Most emails provided were from the account of Columbus detective Shana Keckley, one of the officers who led the sting against the strip club, supposedly as part of an anti-human trafficking and prostitution operation.

According to the Advocate:

In an email dated Tuesday, July 10 — two days before Daniels arrived in Columbus — Keckley emails herself a video of Daniels in West Hollywood. Not long after, the VICE detective emails herself a link to an NBC 4 Columbus story promoting Daniels’ planned appearance. [...]

Keckley sends a series of messages from her personal email account to her work account. Inside are pictures of Daniels with President Trump, pictures of Daniels in lingerie, and a map to the club where she would be performing.

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After Daniels arrest, Keckley began bragging about her accomplishment:

“I got the elements….we arrested Stormy this morning, she is in jail.” “Elements” are the burden police officers must meet in order to make an arrest.

In another email dated on July 12 at 3:50 a.m., Keckley writes to another police officer bragging about Daniel’s arrest — without mentioning her by name — saying, “You’re Welcome!!!!!….Thank me in person later.”

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“The emails definitely show that the police lied about it being a prostitution and human trafficking mission,” the whistleblower told the Advocate.

“These emails are very disturbing,” Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti told the Advocate. “We will get to the bottom of this one way or the other.” According to the Advocate, the Columbus police responded to the story on Twitter with the same response they posted to the story several weeks ago, promising to investigate the circumstances.

Things aren’t going super well for the Columbus Police Department recently. In addition to seemingly planning a politically-motivated arrest of an entertainer under false pretenses, they also have been dealing with the fallout of a 21-year veteran Sergeant who was just indicted for possessing child porn.

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According to the whistleblower who provided the emails to the Advocate, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther’s office also has the emails, and is “furious” that “people are critical of the police over this”. That’s what you’re mad about?