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Stormy Daniels’ upcoming appearance at the Pink Pony draws fire, praise

Jokes about Stormy Daniels’ scheduled performances Sunday at the Pink Pony have been popping up on the strip club’s Facebook page for weeks.

One man posted that President Donald Trump was “putting people back in the job market like he promised.” Another said the club should serve Cheetos during the pornographic film star’s “Making Atlanta Great Again” show, an apparent reference to the nickname given to Trump for his orangish hue.

Brookhaven police, however, don’t see her appearance here as a laughing matter. They are bracing for a large turnout for Daniels, the Louisiana native — her real name is Stephanie Clifford — who is now at the center of a political firestorm. Daniels has drawn international media attention since it was revealed she was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about the alleged extramarital affair she claims she had with Trump before he became president. Trump has repeatedly denied they had an affair.

“We are working with Pink Pony as they have reached out to us to assist with their security measures,” Brookhaven police spokesman Carlos Nino said. “Other plans are in place to ensure the safety of those attending the event and assist with increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic.”

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Meanwhile, the Pink Pony is seeking to prevent a repeat of what happened this month in Columbus, Ohio, where Daniels was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors. Local police accused her of pressing customers’ faces into her chest during her performance at a local strip club, fondling their breasts and grabbing the buttocks of one the officers. Police ultimately dropped the charges against her.

No contact is allowed between customers and strippers at the Pink Pony, said Dennis Williams, the club’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. The club has scheduled extra security personnel for the event, including off-duty police officers, he added.

Williams said, “We are staying within our guidelines with the vice laws in reference to our licensing with the City of Brookhaven. We give all the respect in the world to that — as primary.

“We will have a little orientation with Stormy before that, as we do with all our features, equally. We explain to them what the rules are,” Williams added. “What I understand is she is very open-minded about that.”

Daniels will sign autographs and perform two shows Sunday, one at 9 p.m. and one at midnight. At the same time, the club will be selling red “Making ATL Great Again” baseball caps. A “presidential-like appearance” will happen outside the club Sunday about 8:30 p.m., Williams said. Asked to elaborate, he declined, calling it a surprise.

“We have a capacity of a little over 400 people,” Williams said. “We anticipate having a full house.”

Not everyone is happy Daniels is going to appear at the Pink Pony.

“She should be in the Golden Corral not the pink pony … Just what I want to see a washed up [sic] stripper/porn star!!” David Goessling wrote on the club’s Facebook page, adding Trump’s “MAGA” — Make America Great Again — campaign slogan.

Others are hailing Daniels.

“The hero America deserves,” Jacob Michael Wood posted.

Mike Ragsdale wondered in his post whether the event was political, asking if it will serve as a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.

Williams dismissed such talk.

“This is not a political event,” he said. “This is not an event for pro-Trump or anti-Trump. This is just a business event to build business — goodwill — at the Pony. My entertainers and staff who work there are looking forward to making a little extra money that evening. And why not?”

Typically, Daniels’ performances last 20 minutes and include “beautiful and elaborate costumes” that correspond with the music, said Danny Capozzi, one of her booking agents. Her increased notoriety is helping her book more work, Capozzi said.

Yet, her expenses have also gone up. She has been spending large sums on personal security since filing a defamation suit against Trump and his attorney, Michael Cohen, and since she asked a judge to rule the $130,000 hush agreement is invalid, said Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti.

“There has just been a number of physical threats – death threats – lodged against her and her family and me and my family,” Avenatti said. “It’s an everyday occurrence, unfortunately. There are a lot of very disturbed people in the world.”

Avenatti also took aim at the police who arrested Daniels in Ohio, accusing them of entrapment. He said two of the arresting officers’ social media feeds and other evidence reveal they are vehement Trump supporters.

“There is little question in my mind that it was a complete setup that was designed to embarrass her,” he said. “I believe it was a violation of her civil liberties. I don’t believe they had probable cause for the arrest.”

Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs issued a statement on Facebook last week, calling Daniels’ arrest a mistake and saying the officers’ actions would be reviewed. She also pushed back against unspecified allegations that have been reported about the incident on social media, saying they are “not supported by the known facts.”

“The facts behind the charges and the behavior witnessed by the vice officers are a matter of public record, and officers were well within their area of responsibility when taking enforcement action,” she said. “Nevertheless, a mistake was made, and I accept full responsibility.”

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