The former Ohio police officers who drew controversy for their 2018 arrest of adult film star Stormy Daniels in a Columbus strip club have now been hit with federal charges. Prosecutors claim that they violated the civil rights of people they investigated, including conducting illegal searches and seizures.
As WBNS 10TV reported, federal prosecutors hit 43-year-old Steven Rosser and 57-year-old Whitney Lancaster with a string of charges related to their work as police officers in Columbus. In two of the incidents, prosecutors said the two searched a strip club without a warrant and improperly charged the department of special duty hours when they worked at a water park.
The two were best known for the controversial arrest of Stormy Daniels. The adult film star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump shortly after the birth of his youngest son. Daniels had come forward with details of the alleged affair and was on a nationwide tour that included appearances at strip clubs when she was arrested by the officers while performing in Columbus.
Daniels was also at the center of a legal battle that took down Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. He was convicted for a campaign finance violation for reportedly paying off Daniels shortly before the 2016 election in order for her to keep quiet about the alleged affair with Trump.
During an internal investigation, the Columbus officers claimed they were looking for human trafficking in strip clubs. It was later discovered that they were not there on official business and that the arrests of Daniels as well as other dancers were improper.
As Law & Crime reported, the officers had cited an Ohio law that prohibited nude dancers from allowing patrons to touch them. However, the charges against them were quickly dropped. The arrested women sued the city and ultimately reached a settlement.
Rosser and Lancaster were put on desk duty after the incident and fired a year later. In a previous WBNS 10TV report, the two were still able to pull down a hefty salary while on desk duty, each making close to $98,000 before being terminated.
U.S. Attorney David DeVillers said this week that the two were “corrupt cops,” but it will be up to a jury to decide.
“They used their positions as police officers to victimize people. They are no longer police officers so they can’t use that cover of right,” he said.