- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 14, 2019

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge Tuesday rejected attorney Michael Avenatti’s request for a public defender to represent him in a case alleging he stole millions of dollars from clients, cheated on his taxes and committed bank fraud.

Judge James Selna denied the request without providing a reason on the eve of Avenatti’s appearance in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, on the issue of who will represent him.

Prosecutors want Avenatti to fill out financial forms to show he can’t afford a lawyer before one is appointed and Avenatti refused, citing the complexity of his finances and legal situation.

Avenatti said the judge’s rejection only pertains to his request for a public defender without filing a financial affidavit. He said he was considering his options going forward.

Avenatti has pleaded not guilty to a 36-count indictment on charges tax, wire and bank fraud. He has also denied a charge in New York that he threatened to expose that Nike paid high school basketball players unless they paid him up to $25 million.



Avenatti rose to fame representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against President Donald Trump and once considered running for president himself.

But his image was tarnished in March when he was arrested in New York and charged with crimes on both coasts. He has vowed that he will fight the cases and win.

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