Atlanta police this weekend arrested on a wife-beating allegation the Alabama judge who helped railroad into prison former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Police charged U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller with misdemeanor battery following an altercation late Saturday night at the luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel with Fuller's second wife, Kelli Fuller, 41, a former clerk in Fuller's courthouse. Police reported that she was bloody with hair pulled out.
The police report said that Kelli Fuller accused the judge of cheating with another clerk who worked with him, and threw a glass at him.
Fuller, 55, shown in a mug shot, presides in Alabama's federal district based in the state capital of Montgomery, where he was chief judge from 2004 to 2011 in charge of administration as well as trying cases.
Financial cutbacks and self-censorship in the traditional media are reducing the kind of local coverage of police dockets resulting in the Fuller arrest. Yet these are precisely the kinds of stories that open the window to much larger corruption.
In this case, the story provides rare criticism within the mainstream media of the powerful judge who enabled the frame-up of Alabama's leading Democrat, thereby fostering one-party rule in the state.
A former Republican leader, businessman and state prosecutor in Alabama, Fuller presided in 2006 over the federal corruption trial of Siegelman, convicted of reappointing to a state board in 1999 a donor to the Alabama Education Foundation.
Siegelman remains in prison on a six-year term that Fuller imposed with unusually harsh terms.
Fuller refused the bond normally granted in white-collar cases during appeals, and ordered Siegelman paraded out of court in chains before the media. Siegelman was placed solitary confinement in various out-of-state prisons to keep him away from family and media inquiries.
The harsh sentence followed many pro-prosecution rulings and courtroom irregularities by Fuller. Nearly all have been approved by appellate judges and Justice Department officials.
Unprecedented protests by legal scholars, former prosecutors and outraged members of the public have failed to budge authorities to grant relief for Siegelman or probe his opponents like Fuller in any meaningful fashion.
That lack of scrutiny has occurred even though Fuller's judicial career began in 2003 with an unrelated complaint seeking his arrest and impeachment for corruption in an alleged fraud scheme.
After the Siegelman trial former Republican political researcher Dana Jill Simpson revealed that Fuller was being secretly enriched by the Bush administration without litigants' knowledge. The method, the Alabama attorney said, was via $300 million in defense contracts for Doss Aviation, Inc., a closely held company the judge controlled as by far its largest shareholder.
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