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Stripper Claims Nudity Is 'Free Speech,' Loses Appeal

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Exotic dancer Crystal Ludwig's attempt to have full nudity protected as "free speech" was shot down this week by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ludwig, an exotic dancer at the now defunct Garter Belt strip club, challenged Van Buren Township's ban on full nudity, saying the ban violated her First Amendment rights. The club itself and another dancer previously sued the township located in a rural area of Wayne County -- and all lost their cases.

After the Garter Belt lost its bid for full nudity, Ludwig filed her own claim, but the court ruled that the decision against Garter Belt also applied to her.

"Because the Garter Belt had already lost its challenge to the nudity ordinances, the district court held that Ludwig's claim was barred," the decision says.

Per court records, Van Buren Township enacted an ordinance in March 1999 that prohibits persons "appearing in a state of nudity" from frequenting, loitering, working, or performing in any establishment licensed or subject to licensing by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Owners of the club went all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court to try to have the ordinance tossed out as unconstitutional, but they lost at every level of the court system.

So where does that leave the Garter Belt? Apparently nowhere.

"The Wayne County Circuit Court entered a Judgment and Permanent Injunction against Garter Belt, stating in part that the Nudity on Licensed Premises ordinance "is without constitutional or legal infirmity," and dismissed Garter Belt's counterclaims. Garter Belt remains subject to the injunction, and is barred from challenging it," the Sixth Circuit's decision says.

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