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The Porn Star, the Senate Seat, and the Exploding Car

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Stormy Daniels in downtown New Orleans, Wednesday, May 6, 2009.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) It's been a tough week for porn actress Stormy Daniels - complete with a domestic violence charge and a car explosion - as she continues to mull a U.S. Senate bid that could make life uncomfortable for incumbent first-term Louisiana Republican David Vitter, still recovering from a sex scandal.

Daniels was arrested Saturday on a domestic violence battery charge after she allegedly hit her husband at their home in Tampa, Fla., during a dispute about laundry and unpaid bills.

Her arrest came two days after her political adviser in Louisiana, Brian Welsh, said his parked 1996 Audi may have been blown up by someone on July 23 outside his apartment in an upscale downtown area of New Orleans.

"It's something out of The Sopranos," said Edward E. Chervenak, a professor of politics at the University of New Orleans. "Very weird."

In May, Daniels announced that she was interested in a 2010 run for the Senate seat held by Vitter, whose family-values reputation was marred in 2007 when his name was linked to a Washington prostitution ring.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Gregory Clifford, has not officially declared herself a candidate, but has continued to express an interest. She has acknowledged that she hasn't lived in Louisiana for years and would need to re-establish residency to run for Senate. The 30-year-old Louisiana native kicked off a second "listening tour" in early July.

Daniels was arrested Saturday at 3:18 p.m. after her husband, Michael Mosny, reported that Daniels hit him several times, according to a Tampa Police Department report. Police said neither Mosny nor Daniels were injured.

Mosny told police that Daniels was upset "about the way the clothes had been done" and then "got more upset about some bills that had not been paid," the police report said.

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)
Stormy Daniels visits a local restaurant in downtown New Orleans, Wednesday, May 6, 2009.

The police report said Daniels allegedly "threw a potted plant at the kitchen sink," hit Mosny on the head several times and "threw their wedding album onto the floor and knocked candles off coffee table, breaking them."

The bad week, though, started on July 23 when her political adviser's car blew up in suspicious circumstances in New Orleans.

Welsh, a Democratic adviser and manager of the Stormy Daniels Senate Exploratory Committee LLC., said his Audi convertible exploded into flames around 11:15 p.m. July 23, a Thursday, while he and his wife were walking their dog nearby.

He said he became suspicious after reviewing surveillance tapes of the street where his car was parked, wedged between other vehicles.

On fuzzy security tapes that Welsh posted on YouTube, a person in a white shirt can be seen loitering around his car and apparently getting into it shortly before the car explodes in a ball of flames.

Firefighters responded to a 911 call at 11:23 p.m. and put the fire out by 12:06 a.m., said Michael Williams of the New Orleans Fire Department.

Welsh's car was parked Wednesday in the same spot where it caught on fire, on a little-used street near the New Orleans convention center.

New Orleans police and the FBI did not immediately comment.

Welsh said he had no suspects, but feared someone caused the explosion.

"Maybe there is a reason, more of an intentional reason for the car blowing up," Welsh said. "I want to get more facts."

Welsh said he was uncertain if the explosion was connected to his work with Daniels.

"Clearly, if someone tried to blow up my car, it's cause for concern; it's not cause for me to stop doing my job, stop me from talking about the things that are important," Welsh said. "If anybody had been walking by when that car blew up, they would have been seriously injured or killed."

"I really wish this had not happened," Welsh, 38, said. "I need a car."

Youtube surveillance video posted by Brian Welsh of his car exploding.
  • Ryan Smith

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