In an exclusive investigation, the Advocate has obtained emails from a whistleblower from inside the Columbus Police Department that outline the arrest of Stormy Daniels earlier this month may have been pre-planned days before she ever arrived in town.
Columbus Police arrested the adult entertainer — who claims to have had an affair with then-private citizen Donald Trump in 2006 — on July 12. Police said that Daniels violated an Ohio law by “touching” club-goers, who were actually undercover VICE officers. The charges were dismissed 12 hours later after Daniels hired Columbus defense attorney Chase Mallory. Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said the elements were not met in the charges and that is why the cases were tossed out. Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs apologized and called it a “mistake.”
Within hours of her arrest, Daniels’ personal attorney Michael Avenatti called it a political hit-job and vowed to investigate.
A whistleblower from the City of Columbus contacted the Advocate with numerous emails between several high-ranking Columbus police detectives and VICE officers.
Inside the emails are news clippings discussing Daniels’ planned appearance in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to the club where she would be performing, all sent days before she would pull into town on her tour bus.
The bulk of the emails that the whistleblower provided are from the email account of Detective Shana Keckley. Keckley was one of the lead-arresting officers the night that the “sting” operation went down.
“It is clear that Keckley and her fellow officers were there because of Stormy and only because of Stormy,” the whistleblower told the Advocate in an interview.
Police said that Daniels was caught up in an investigation into human trafficking and prostitution the night she was arrested, but the emails released draw questions as to if Keckley and others targeted Daniels.
“The emails definitely show that the police lied about it being a prostitution and human trafficking mission,” the whistleblower said.
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.
And right after that, a bombshell.
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.
After Daniels’ arrest that Wednesday night, the emails continue into the early morning hours of Thursday, but the contents are disturbing.
“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.”
–continue reading below–
Keckley went on to send additional emails, including one to Shane Keckley — purportedly her husband — writing, “It is all over CNN. I wanted you to know before everyone contacts you.”
Daniels’ personal attorney Michael Avenatti told the Advocate on Wednesday that these emails are not going away.
“These emails are very disturbing,” Avenatti said by phone while in Los Angeles. “We will get to the bottom of this one way or the other.”
The Advocate reached out to Columbus Police media liaison Denise Alex-Bouzounis inquiring about the emails, but calls were not returned. The CPD Twitter account sent a regurgitated statement from several weeks ago where the chief of police apologized for the arrest and said she would investigate its motivations.
The whistleblower says that Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther’s office has the emails in their possession and that Ginther’s team is “furious.”
“Mayor Ginther’s office is pissed that people are critical of the police over this.”
Ginther’s communications director Robin Davis said she was not aware of the emails, but would look into them and get back to the Advocate when she had more information.
City Attorney Klein’s office did not return calls to the Advocate, but issued a directive to Columbus Police to stop making arrests under the law used in Daniels’ cases. Klein told Avenatti that he would also investigate the motivations of the arrest, according to Avenatti.
Prior to working VICE and road patrol, Keckley was a “community liaison” officer with the department.