Judge rejects public defender for Avenatti in fraud case

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected attorney Michael Avenatti’s request to be represented by a public defender in a case alleging he stole from clients, cheated on his taxes and committed bank fraud.

Judge James Selna denied the request Tuesday on the eve of Avenatti’s court appearance in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California.

The judge did not explain why he rejected the request, but prosecutors had wanted Avenatti to fill out financial forms to show he couldn’t afford a lawyer.

Avenatti refused, saying he’s willing to contribute toward the cost of his defense, but providing a full accounting of assets at this point is difficult because of pending litigation he’s handling and lawsuits he’s facing.

Avenatti said the task would be too demanding and time consuming.

Categories: California News