Over the last 48 hours or so, during which time I've been largely off the grid on jury duty, the story of wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller has finally taken off in the corporate media, as well as among a number of the elected officials who would be responsible for impeaching the 2002 George W. Bush lifetime-appointee to the federal bench.
I couldn't be happier to finally be playing catch-up on this story for a change, as calls for accountability for the federal judge from Alabama's Middle District have now become a "virtual chorus" over these last few days. The state's Governor, as well as both of Alabama's U.S. Senators and its entire Congressional delegation, save for one member (Rep. Mike Rogers), have now called for Fuller's resignation and/or impeachment.
His resignation, however, and arguably his impeachment, would be far too generous for Fuller, as I'll discuss below, given previous allegations -- by his first wife -- that mirror what we now know about him, concerning drug and alcohol abuse, as well as physical abuse of both the first wife and their children...
Corporate media and members of Congress finally notice
On Wednesday, MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes finally devoted an entire segment to the outrageous case which we first reported back in early August, just after Fuller had been arrested for beating his wife bloody at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. He was arrested by Atlanta Police following a 911 call from his second wife Kelli, during which she is heard being struck, asks for an ambulance, and implores the dispatcher: "Please help me. He's beating on me."
Just weeks later, Atlanta prosecutors -- perhaps not knowing about almost identical allegations of abuse by Fuller's previous wife Lisa in 2012, in documents that were mysteriously sealed during their divorce proceedings -- allowed Fuller to enter a pre-trial diversion program, requiring a few weeks of domestic abuse counseling to avoid prosecution and, if successfully completed, have his entire arrest record expunged as if nothing ever happened.
The plan -- which a senior Republican federal judge described last week as "a sweet deal...that will allow him to erase his criminal conviction for beating the crap out of his wife in a fancy hotel room while reeking with booze" -- would allow Fuller to return to his lifetime $200,000/year job where he sits in judgment of others, while leaving his next victim, whoever that might be, with little if any protection.
Early this week, Hayes played a portion of the chilling audio from the 911 call during which Fuller's wife is heard being repeatedly struck in their hotel room. On Wednesday night, Hayes played the horrifying audio again during a segment covering the then-new calls for Fuller's resignation -- finally -- from powerful Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R) (who nominated Fuller to the bench 12 years ago) and the state's junior Senator Jeff Sessions (R), among others in the state's Congressional delegation. The sudden outcry, sparked only after outrage over the NFL/Ray Rice domestic violence controversy, leads one of Hayes' guests, Alabama Media Group journalist Chuck Dean, to speculate that it's just "a matter of time," before Fuller finally steps down...
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