A federal appeals court in Atlanta took the rare step last week of reassigning all cases from a prominent judge who had been arrested on a charge of battery against his wife.
Separately, a Fulton County court forbade U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller, 55, from contact with his wife Kelli Gregg Fuller, 41, a former deputy court clerk for Fuller who phoned police late Aug. 9 from a luxury hotel to say her husband was beating her after she accused him of having an affair with a law clerk.
The wife-beating and sex scandal allegations puncture the protective cocoon that the mainstream media and legal establishment have provided for years for Fuller, chief judge of Alabama’s middle district from 2004 to 2011. He is shown in a blue jail jumpsuit via county courthouse video during his hearing Aug. 11.
We at the Justice Integrity Project and elsewhere have documented vast number of abuses by Fuller that include financial and legal corruption. Also, we have reported his more personal vices involving claims by his first wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, of wife-beating and sex scandal along with drug and alcohol abuse.
Longtime Alabama political writer Bob Martin, now editor of the Alabama’s Millbrook Independent near Montgomery, is one of relatively few mainstream Alabama journalists to dig into these matters in recent years.
Based on Martin’s long experience in the state capital region and recent developments, he republished Aug. 12 in the Independent our comprehensive Justice Integrity Project overview that day, Siegelman’s Judge Charged With Wife Beating.
Then Dana Jill Simpson, an Alabama attorney and former political researcher for Republicans, published late on Aug. 16 here on Facebook a jeremiad against Fuller. She focused especially on the misdemeanor wife-beating allegation and other issues of character.
“Every lawyer around who knew of Judge Fuller had heard for years how he treated women and political foes,” she wrote. “Those of you who know me know I have spent 25 years in the trenches working in the courts in rural Alabama to protect families as much as I could from domestic violence. And to have this guy just keep beating on women while sitting on the bench is intolerable — not just for me but is an insult to all women in this state.”
Simpson had stepped forward in 2007 to swear that Fuller had helped frame former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy on corruption charges.
Simpson is shown in a screen shot from a 2008 CBS 60 Minutes report in which she and others made strong allegations also against the Bush administration federal prosecutors of Siegelman and Scrushy, as well as White House advisor Karl Rove.
But CBS failed to report her allegations against the trial judge, Fuller. Her allegations included sworn testimony that the judge “hated” Siegelman and documentation that a defense contractor the judge secretly controlled as its largest shareholder, Doss Aviation, had received without notice to litigants more than $70 million in no-bid federal contracts.
Soon thereafter the total was revealed to be $300 million, counting new awards received during the 2006 to 2009 time frame, as we reported for the Huffington Post in 2009.
Fuller has become enriched on the bench by those largely secret military contracts, which are almost never mentioned except in the independent, web-based media. As an exception, Martin broke the story in the Independent that Fuller pocketed $18 million in 2012 from the sale of Doss Aviation just before his divorce from his first wife.
The Justice Integrity Project, like other news outlets, has repeatedly requested substantive comment through the years from Fuller, who has presided in Alabama’s middle district based in the state capital of Montgomery. The judge did email me once that he could not comment because he was a judge. Other requests from me and others have been ignored to the best of my knowledge.