Deborah A. Batts, the nation's first openly gay federal judge, has died. She was 72. Batts died on Monday, three months before she was set to preside over a trial of California lawyer Michael Avenatti. Chief Judge Colleen McMahon in a statement called Batts a trailblazer in every respect: an openly gay African-American woman who became a United States District Judge after a distinguished career as a federal prosecutor and law professor. McMahon said it will be difficult to replace Batts, especially after he devotion to a program that let offenders earn reductions in their period of supervised release by participating in a rehabilitative program under judicial supervision.

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