Judge found dead ahead of Michael Avenatti trial

Associated Press – VIA THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Deborah A. Batts, the nation’s first openly gay federal judge, has died. She was 72. Batts was found dead on Monday, three months before she was set to preside over a trial of California lawyer Michael Avenatti on charges that he cheated porn star Stormy Daniels, a former client, of proceeds of a book deal. No cause of death was immediately released. In June 1994, Batts was sworn in after a smooth confirmation process following her appointment to the bench by President Bill Clinton. During her confirmation proceedings, it was never mentioned that she was a lesbian.

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