Siegelman's Judge Accused Of Beating Wife, Affair With Clerk


Atlanta police last weekend alleged wife-beating by the Alabama judge who helped railroad into prison former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

Mark Fuller Mug ShotPolice charged U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller with misdemeanor battery early Aug. 10 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 injured but declined hospital treatment.

The police report said that Kelli Gregg Fuller accused the judge of cheating with another clerk who worked with him, and threw glass at him after both had been drinking.

The judge allegedly responded with violence but told police he was merely trying to defend himself, according to a report by Bill Barrow of the Associated Press. The AP quoted the judge's stepson, Hunter Gregg, age 17, as saying he heard the dispute while passing a hotel corridor, and it was not the first of its kind.

Fuller, 55, shown in a mug shot Sunday, 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 cases. Fuller spent more than a day in the Fulton County jail without bond, thereby missing his scheduled cases in Alabama. On Aug. 11, the Atlanta judge released Fuller on a $5,000 bond for a court hearing postponed from Aug. 22 to Sept. 5.

Two Atlanta attorneys, Donald V. Watson and Joseph Cole, plan to organize protests against lenient treatment for Fuller, whom Watson described as undergoing rehabilitation treatment. 

Update Aug. 13: Federal Judge Mark Fuller's caseload reassigned in wake of arrest.

A former Republican leader, businessman and state prosecutor in Alabama, Fuller presided in 2006 over the federal corruption trial of Siegelman, the state's leading Democrat.

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, convicted primarily for reappointing a donor to a state board, was placed solitary confinement in various out-of-state prisons to keep him away from family and media inquiries.

The harsh sentence following many pro-prosecution rulings and courtroom irregularities by Fuller that 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, even though Fuller's career began in 2003 with an unrelated complaint seeking his impeachment for corruption.

Fuller's judicial status and his powerful political, business and media support have protected him despite serious professional and personal scandals documented here at the Justice Integrity Project site and elsewhere.

Fuller's business and professional ties to what President Eisenhower called "The Military Industrial Complex" in a 1961 Farewell Address have presented a secret and dangerous element of the power Fuller wields as judge. Among our findings are that Fuller while a judge secretly controlled unknown to the litigants facing him up to 44 percent of the stock of a military contractor, Doss Aviation, Inc., which Fuller formerly ran as CEO.

The company operated globally, including at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery.

In one of the many Kafka-like paramilitary dimensions to the Siegelman prosecution, the Air Force base secretly housed for years a special federal-state task force devoted to one purpose: finding enough evidence under the leadership of an Air Force Reserve colonel, Steven Feaga, to imprison Siegelman, whom Fuller allegedly "hated" and whom other Republican leaders wanted removed from politics.

Feaga held a joint appointment with the Justice Department and worked closely with the GOP-controlled Alabama attorney general's office to intimidate at the base prospective witnesses against Siegelman, thereby uniting military and civilian powers in a frightening and secret combination that the Obama administration has continued.

Thus, the weekend's arrest is worth extended treatment.

In an age of financial austerity and diminished professional standards, the conventional media can focus on relatively specific matters like wife-beating, sexual infidelity or politically incorrect comments about race or sex.

Complex wickedness, however, involving major institutions does not fit any longer into journalistic formulas -- and is thus ignored for the most part.

But not here, and not now.

We draw first on background from the Huffington Post, which provided exceptionally bold coverage in years past compared to the complacency and self-censorship of the mainstream media.

The Huffington Post front-paged several of my investigations in 2009, including:

Most of these reports were carried simultaneously by OpEdNews. All built on the previous reporting of several courageous bloggers cited in the articles, as well as occasional mainstream commentaries such as an important CBS 60 Minutes report in 2008 that helped shape public opinion, while cravenly omitting all mention of Fuller.

The gist then and now is that defense attorneys, legal scholars and whistleblowers have provided compelling evidence that prosecutors framed Siegelman for political reasons. Fuller rubber-stamped and often augmented the travesty, as did higher courts and both the Bush and Obama Justice Departments.

The record illustrates that the Bush and Obama administrations march in unison when it comes to protecting Fuller and the tainted prosecution of Siegelman.

The White House photo at right, taken before a White House dinner for the Obamas to host the Bush family, shows at least symbolically how their interests remain far closer on core issues than commonly perceived.

The GOP has long complained that Obama was at best a naive law professor and community organizer, and at worst a radical leftist and would-be autocrat.

In fact, the Siegelman case helps expose that both Obama and Bush and their peers in both parties answer to similar puppet masters, who have scant interest in allowing another of their loyal servants like Fuller become embarrassed. Furthermore, in-depth investigation reveals that Obama has much to hide about his background and the money-making of his appointees. As one recent example, the son of Vice President Biden has just been named as a counsel to an important Ukrainian company. Republicans know and leverage many of those secrets, including about Obama's rise to power, leaving the public in the dark for the most part.

To trigger an understandable framework for the corruption of the justice system under both national parties, it took a wife, a fight, a Saturday night -- and local police.

The Judge Celebrates Siegelman's Convictions

The photo below shows the rarely photographed Fuller in chambers minutes after a nearly hung-jury returned its compromise verdict against Siegelman in June 2006. This sealed the former former governor's fate, condemned his co-defendant Richard Scrushy to an unmerited seven-year term, and removed a major obstacle to one-party Alabama rule.

Free-lance photographer Phil Fleming has granted me permission for the Justice Integrity Project to use this photo that Fleming took after Fuller invited the photographer and a sketch artist into chambers to take portraits following the verdict. Fleming has told me that he sensed an inappropriate celebratory mood by the judge, and thus felt compelled to blurt out advice for the judge to drop "the Cheshire Cat look" as undignified under the circumstances.

Mark Fuller Phil FlemingBut that was a private view by a particularly blunt-speaking freelancer.

More publicly, those in a timid, politically oriented and financially impaired news media have repeatedly sugar-coated outrageous misconduct by the judge, federal prosecutors and  higher courts in the Siegelman case, including documented threats of blackmail and evidence suppression.

Several public interest whistleblowers have stepped forward to describe -- at great peril to themselves -- how Siegelman was framed.

Authorities in both the Bush and Obama administrations and in both GOP and Democratic controlled Congress have never agreed to their requests correct the injustice with testimony oath and in public against Fuller and alleged conspirators.

Siegelman's frame-up began in the Bush-Rove White House, but has been continued by the Obama administration at the highest levels of the White House and Justice Department. At least 150,000 phone calls, emails and other citizen complaints have occurred through the years. Authorities do nothing except file enormous legal briefs in a prosecution costing millions of taxpayer dollars in the aggregate. The government now, as always, essentially insists that Fuller be vindicated and Siegelman serve his full sentence for 1999 conduct that any reasonable person would know was a trumped-up non-crime. 

Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan, shown at right, specifically argued to the Supreme Court against Siegelman's request for a hearing, thus ensuring a unified Bush-Obama position and, perhaps not incidentally, showing that she was a team player who did not deserve all-out opposition by Republicans when her friend Obama nominated her for the Supreme Court.

Elena KaganAlabama's two senior Republican senators, Jeff Sessions and Dick Shelby, wield enormous influence in the nation and over the Obama administration.

Our Justice Integrity Project cited Kagan's fight against Siegelman on behalf of the Justice Department as a reason to oppose her Supreme Court nomination -- even though from the outset her confirmation was a done deal with widespread institutional support. Kagan, a former Harvard University President and Goldman Sachs consultant, could not be trusted to defend the rights of ordinary Americans, the Siegelman case helps underscore, even if though she has advocated for certain civil rights causes, such as women's and gay rights.

The most courageous accuser of Fuller has been Alabama attorney Dana Jill Simpson of the rural northern Alabama community of Rainesville.

In early 2007, she quietly tried to warn Siegelman and his co-defendant, businessman Richard Scrushy, that Fuller secretly controlled a closely held defense contractor, Doss Aviation. The ownership stake created a massive conflict of interest because defendants had no idea of the wealth that Bush administration was conferring on Fuller and his cronies via $300 million in no-bid contracts through Doss, which has deep roots in the military establishment, including with Saudi and other foreign governments.

Also, Simpson alleged in sworn testimony to congressional staff in 2007, just after I met her, that she had been part of a well-connected group of Republicans told as early as 2002 that Republicans authorities would remove Siegelman from politics with the help of "Karl" and the justice system.

Jill and Jim SimpsonSimpson further swore that she learned in 2005 even before Siegelman was indicted in his second case that the trial would be steered to Fuller because he "hated" Siegelman for helping expose as governor a financial scandal involving the judge, who was trying to arrange more than $300,000 in unmerited payments from Alabama's state pension fund for a Fuller crony.

Simpson is shown on her Facebook page with her husband, Jim Simpson, at this year's annual "Bridge Crossing Jubilee" in Selma. The event commemorates a 1965 march by civil rights leaders brutally halted by Alabama authorities. 

Simpson's own odyssey is a compelling story.

By her account: She was reared in a well-connected Alabama political family close to late the Gov. George Wallace. She says she met as a teenager Karl Rove and members of the Bush family, and was a contemporary of Fuller's at the University of Alabama Law School, although she does not recall meeting him.

Later as a sole practitioner attorney with a diverse clientele including small town litigation and big time government contractors, she says, she paid her political dues as a volunteer helping fellow Republicans on in-depth political research. In one such instance, she says, she helped vet Fuller's acceptability for a federal judicial nomination early in the Bush administration.

Rove has written in his memoir Courage and Consequence and in several media interviews that he never met Simpson and that her characterizations are otherwise false. She is currently pursuing studies in religion and women's rights. Each time Rove publicly criticizes her, she returns to her former political work to rachet up pressure on him in various ways, including outreach to prosecutors.

Rove and other officials relevant to this tale have also denied misconduct. But none, aside from Rove in a carefully choreographed 2009 congressional inquiry, have been subjected to any known investigation that has put them under oath subject to cross-examination by a knowledgeable questioner.

The Obama White House, congress and the Bush administration agreed on special rules for questioning Rove after widespread allegations that he helped the Bush Justice Department organize nationwide unmerited political prosecutions of Democrats and other political targets.

Don Siegelman in prison The Justice Integrity Project reported that those rules made the House Judiciary Committee inquiry essentially a whitewash because they foreclosed specific inquiries on matters such as the Siegelman case and those like it around the nation.

Siegelman is shown at right in a file photo from a CBS story that omitted mention of Fuller's role. CBS, like most other major media, is heavily connected to the defense and intelligence establishment. CBS News President David Rhodes, for example, is the brother of President Obama's top strategist, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.

Fuller, Republicans, Democrats All Deny Irregularities and Wrongdoing

The Justice Integrity Project has repeatedly requested comment without success from Fuller, Rove and the Riley family, and their attorneys. Fuller, however, did email us once that he was foreclosed from comment because of his position as a federal judge.

In sum, Fuller has been able to protect his reputation for the most part despite extensive evidence of illegal, immoral, vindictive, greedy, and otherwise improper conduct involving many other cases besides Siegelman's, as described in my Huffington Post column, Alabama Decisions Illustrate Abuse of Judicial Power.

Furthermore, a purported tie of one Fuller's companies, Doss Aviation, to alleged 9/11 hijacker Mohammad Atta raises further questions about the judge and those who have protected him. No one is alleging that either Fuller or his company had any pre-knowledge or other involvement with 9/11. Nonetheless, the complete lack of mainstream media interest that a federal judge's company might have had a relationship, however brief and unwittingly with an Atta illustrates the superficial treatment that official commissions and a captive media often provide for the public.

I addressed similar issues in a recent column, 9/11 Commission's Forum Shows How DC 'Works,' reporting on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 Commission's superficial report and the major conflicts of interest by commission members. All benefit at least indirectly from close ties with the military and intelligence sectors. The judge fund led by commission member John F. Lehman purchased Doss Aviation, thereby ensuring Fuller's wealth in proceedings kept secret despite Alabama law.

The impressive array of services that Doss provides to the federal government includes training of U.S. Air Force and foreign pilots. Investigative reporter and former Naval intelligence officer Wayne Madsen is among those who have reported that Atta trained as a pilot briefly with Doss via a facility in Alabama. Atta's primary training ground was in Florida before the 9/11 attack, according to author Daniel Hopsicker and official sources.

Doss also refuels Air Force planes, including the Air Force One fleet that transports presidents and other dignitaries.

Additionally, Doss has sold uniforms to the federal military and such agencies as the Justice Department, thereby creating an especially direct conflict of interest that neither the courts nor the Justice Department wanted to address.

The situation is hopelessly complicated for those trying to understand it in terms of conventional wisdom about how the two parties compete against one another, with each advocating for rights under the law. 

The diverse roles of super-lawyer Gregory Craig illustrate the complexities. Right now, the longtime Democrat Craig is representing pro bono the imprisoned Siegelman in a last-ditch appeal, whose oral argument before the 11th Circuit in Atlanta was recently postponed from July 28 to Oct. 13. Craig, a highly well-connected attorney, is the prisoner's last hope in the legal arena unless Obama intervenes.

Presidential intervention is highly unlikely, however, even though Craig was the first White House counsel in the Obama administration. At the Heritage Foundation, Craig has described the intense political pressures that any elected leader faces these days in showing mercy at either the state or federal level.

Leura CanaryLargely unspoken additionally is that Craig and Obama are central players, of course, in the establishment that cannot tolerate Siegelman's freedom and questions that might be raised about his prosecution. It was Craig, for example, who negotiated with his former partners at Skadden Arps the terms for Rove's whitewashed questioning before the House Judiciary Committee in July 2009. And it was Craig and Obama's close friends, Kagan and her boss Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, who thwarted Siegelman more directly.

Among their actions was opposing Siegelman's requests to remove Fuller from the case, and also to recuse U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, left.

Instead, the Obama administration continued Canary in office until 2010 despite sworn evidence that she was helping mastermind Siegelman's frame-up in league with her husband, William Canary, who was campaign manager for Siegelman's Republican rival, Bob Riley. William Canary was also a longtime friend and political ally of Rove, shown at right during his years as a White House political advisor. Karl Rove

The recusal of Fuller and Canary are central issues in this and other cases largely ignored by the legal and media establishment.

The Obama Justice Department was able to win a rubber-stamp opinion of its conduct by a well-connected and wealthy federal judge, who essentially ruled that judges were entitled to preside on cases regardless of their stock holdings. That ruling applied only to Fuller and failed to address the extensive evidence of bias and corruption in the case.

“No one [in authority] has ever grasped the magnitude of the recusal issue and why it is the most important issue in this entire case,” former Siegelman aide Chip Hill has written me. “Absent proof that the case was conducted without conflict of interest, every action taken in that conflicted environment should be invalidated. That would include the original indictments, the trial, conviction, etc.”

A finding of failure to recuse by either Fuller or Canary, however, is an issue far too hot for leaders in either party or the organized watchdog institutions to address. 

The Wives

But domestic issues, rooted in passions we do not pretend to know, much less report, can threaten even the greatest of plans and cover-ups -- or at least provide a brief window into character issues, finances and hypocrisy.

Fuller's longtime first wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, filed for divorce in 2012 with allegations that the judge was abusing alcohol and drugs, and also conducting an affair with an unidentified married woman. The husband of Fuller court clerk of Fuller's also filed for divorce from his wife while alleging in court papers adultery.

Fuller later married his former clerk, now Kelli Fuller, and was able to keep his divorce papers secret despite Alabama law requiring open records.

The Justice Integrity Project protested the secrecy to Montgomery Circuit Judge Anita Kelley, who took the extraordinary step of protecting her fellow judge's privacy and ignoring our filings, which were co-signed by leaders of two other news organizations, longtime political writer Bob Martin of the Montgomery Independent and Roger Shuler of the Legal Schnauzer blog.

Longtime Harper's Magazine critic and law professor Scott Horton has written about a dozen columns attacking Fuller's honesty, and said that a judge hiding an affair with court subordinate threatens the administration of justice.

Atlanta Fireworks

As indicated above, Fuller's arrest reportedly stemmed from an allegation by his wife Kelli, a former clerk for the judge, that he was having an affair with a different clerk.

Barrow of the Associated Press reported the following:

The AP reported:

According to the police report, both the Fullers admit to an altercation, but each blamed the other as the aggressor. The report states that Kelli Fuller, 41, "answered the door in tears" and had visible cuts on her mouth and forehead when police arrived. They later documented bruises on her legs. Kelli Fuller was treated at the hotel by paramedics but refused to be taken to a hospital.

Police say the judge was on the bed when they entered the room, which smelled of alcohol. There was broken glass and hair on the floor. Blood was discovered in the bathroom. Kelli Fuller told police that her husband became violent after she accused him of having an affair with a law clerk in his Montgomery office.

She said he pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and dragged her, kicked her and struck her several times in the face. Mark Fuller told police that his wife became violent as she confronted him with allegations of cheating. The judge told police he was watching television when his wife threw a drink glass at him.

He told officers that he grabbed her hair and threw her to the ground to defend himself. Mark Fuller had no visible injuries, the report said. Kelli Fuller's 17-year-old son, Hunter Gregg, also was at the hotel. He told police that he heard his mother and step-father fighting earlier in the evening as he passed by their room. He said they had been drinking and described a volatile relationship, telling police "this was not the first time an incident like this had occurred."

The dangers of inter-office romance between a powerful judge and staff are particularly strong when critics of Fuller have identified so many specific improprieties by him and his staff in the Siegelman case alone, as documented in columns noted in the appendix below. Even worse would be complications arising from romantic triangles, especially when judges are supposed to invoke society's moral precepts to sustain confidence in their rulings.

The Shuler Situation

Another recent abuse of judicial power is worth noting. Shuler, a blogger based in Birmingham with nearly three decades of journalism experience, has published hundreds of blogs about irregularities in the Siegelman case. He nd went on to write about other Deep South courtroom injustices, many involving Siegelman's successor as governor, two-term Republican Bob Riley (2003-2011).

Three of Shuler's news targets, including Riley's son Rob Riley, have sued Shuler for libel. The suits prompt a part-time state judge, Claud Neilson, to order Shuler's arrest and jailing for five months. Neilsen released Shuler, listed by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the only jailed journalist in the Western Hemisphere, after Shuler promised to spike his disputed columns alleging that Rob Riley had had an affair.

Except for the committee, national news organizations did little to support Shuler in the face of clear-cut violations of Supreme Court precedents on defamation, prior restraint and due process. I visited Shuler in March in the Birmingham jail to deliver the bad news: Shuler needed to give up his rights as a journalist because the journalism organizations to which I belonged, most notably the Society of Professional Journalists, had no stomach for fighting on behalf of a freelancer or even exposing First Amendment rights in such hostile terrain for civil rights as Alabama.

Identifying the root causes for the widespread suppression of justice in Siegelman's prosecution helped prompt my recent book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama Romney and Their Masters.

Presidential Puppetry by Andrew KreigMy research showed that Siegelman, Alabama's most prominent Democrat, stood in the way of powerful Republican and financial interests, many connected to the same military and intelligence contractors who heavily influence the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, Congress, the courts, the CIA and the White House.

At stake was not simply Alabama's evolution to one-party rule after Siegelman's indictment and the negative news coverage his trials and conviction created.

Also, a madcap era of crony capitalism has been launched whereby favored gambling casinos and federal contractors have reaped special rewards while disfavored casino owners have been punished with huge albeit unsuccessful prosecutions.

Fuller sentenced Siegelman and co-defendant Scrushy to seven-year terms in 2007 on multiple counts alleging corruption. The main charges were because Siegelman reappointed Scrushy to a state board after Scrushy donated to the Alabama Education Foundation, whose mission Siegelman supported, as evidenced by Siegelman's co-signature for the group's debt.

Siegelman was also convicted of obstruction of justice in backdating paperwork involved in receipt of a motorcycle from a lobbyist. Pursuit of that crime alone would hardly justify such a long-running investigation.

Fuller has been well-connected to the political and financial leaders who sought Siegelman's imprisonment. They included, according to massive albeit disputed evidence: former White House advisor Karl Rove, Alabama Business Council CEO William Canary, Canary's wife U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, and Siegelman's Republican rival Bob Riley, and Riley's son, the lawyer and entrepreneur Rob Riley. Fuller was a member of the Alabama Republican Party's Executive Committee for years before his judicial appointment, and several times campaigned on behalf of Siegelman's successful races.
As governor, Siegelman appointed a prosecutor to investigate claims of corruption in 2002 against Fuller for advocating transfer of $330,000 in state pension benefits to a staffer Fuller promoted to a $150,000 post just before the staffer's retirement. 
The issues occasionally achieved news coverage, but primarily in local, specialized or online publications even though deeper scrutiny would show that high stakes and stark passions were involved.

The irony, of course, is that a policeman gave Fuller more adverse publicity on a wife-beating charge than CBS 60 Minutes dared provide in 2008 even after it had the documentation in hand of the judge's financial and ethical corruption. CBS failed to report on the judge in its otherwise powerful expose on the Siegelman prosecution in 2008, Did Ex-Alabama Governor Get A Raw Deal?.

This report makes no assumptions about the battery charge, which may well be dismissed at or before the Aug. 22 hearing. Domestic relations cases are often dismissed, especially when a husband is extremely wealthy and powerful.
But the larger story is that it is often such incidents -- enabled by the honest cop on the beat and the local news reporter too junior to know about cover-ups -- who provide our window to the world of the powerful, however brief. This was the point on my introduction to a new book, More Cool Justice, published this weekend in its Kindle edition. The author is my friend Andy Thibault, a hard-hitting reporter with decades experience covering local news for newspapers with now-fading ability to cover these all-important local stories.
As for the big-time news organizations like CBS?
Sharyl AttkissonFormer CBS reporters Sharyl Atkisson, right, and Kristina Borjesson told the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights this month in Washington, DC that CBS and other networks too often self-censor news on sensitive matters, making it difficult for insiders and an informed public alike to trust what they are seeing. Both are pursuing journalism via independent projects.
Their remarks in effect support Jill Simpson's experience in seeing her documentation on Fuller's behavior omitted from the CBS 60 Minutes show in 2008.
More generally, my Presidential Puppetry documents major unreported or under-reported scandals in the Obama and Bush administrations, and shows via a century of history why the media has increasing difficulty addressing truly major scandals.
The corporate-owned media -- closely connected with the power centers they are supposed to be covering -- see their role as encouraging the public to watch events -- but not to understand occurrences with the information needed to change anything.
Fuller's alma mater, the University of Alabama School of Law invited him to deliver a lecture on ethics at its law school. Jill Simpson was furious that her own school and the Alabama Bar Association would cooperate in such a travesty.
But the legal establishment Republican and Democrat alike are more than willing to close ranks behind a federal judge serving the interests of so many leaders.
Siegelman's son Joseph was a student at the school and a victim of Fuller along with the rest of his family and all those who supported Siegelman's policies during his years in office. The son  raised a tough question from the audience about whether Fuller's conduct through the years had been in keeping with the judge's speech advocating legal ethics.
The question is more apt than ever right now -- but just as likely to be ignored except for the scattered audiences that read the alternative media.
Yet a Saturday night fight, a wife's complaint and cops on the beat could provide a glimpse of drama that all of the better-funded watchdogs are more than willing to ignore.


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Related News Coverage

Fuller Arrest Updates:

Mark Fuller Mug ShotAssociated Press via ABC News, 11th Circuit Files Complaint Against Alabama Federal Judge Mark Fuller, Staff report, Aug. 20, 2014. U.S. Circuit Judge Gerald Tjoflat, acting as the chief judge of the 11th Circuit, sent U.S District Judge Mark Fuller a complaint following his arrest to begin the judicial discipline process outlined under federal law, Fuller's attorney, Barry Ragsdale said. While federal judges serve lifetime appointments and can be removed only through impeachment, legal experts say they also are subject to administrative procedures that can result in censure, reprimands or a request for their resignation. Fuller has three weeks to respond to the complaint by Tjoflat. The 11th Circuit already has stripped Fuller of his cases and stopped sending him new ones. Atlanta police arrested the 55-year-old judge on Aug. 10 and charged him with misdemeanor battery after his wife called 911 from a hotel and said he was beating her.

Above the Law, Clerkships, Crime, Federal Judges, Sex, Sex Scandals, Violence, Staci Zaretsky, Aug. 15, 2014. Federal Judge Accused Of Beating His Wife Allegedly Has Sleazy History With Women. Earlier this week, we brought our readers the sordid tale of Judge Mark Fuller, a federal jurist facing allegations of domestic violence brought by his wife, Kelli Fuller. The good judge is also accused of having an affair with one of his law clerks. Today, we’ve got some additional details about Judge Fuller’s history as an alleged lawyerly Lothario, as well as some updates in the case against him, including the transcript of the 911 call made by his wife during the course of the alleged assault. Judge Fuller’s marriage to his ex-wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, was allegedly rife with troubles, ranging from adultery to abuse to addiction. His alleged affair with his then-deputy may have contributed to his divorce from his former wife; check out the Request for Admissions that was filed during the course of the divorce, posted on the next page. (Judge Fuller requested that the records be sealed shortly after the shocking document was made public.) As to the night of Judge Fuller’s most recent alleged domestic violence incident, the Associated Press was able to obtain audio from the 911 call made by his wife. Here’s a partial transcript from the call. About a minute into the call, as the initial dispatcher patches an ambulance dispatcher into the call, the woman identified as Kelli Fuller, 41, can be heard saying ‘I hate you, I hate you.” A male voice responds: “I hate you too” followed by dull noises in the background. This is absolutely disgusting behavior for a federal judge, if the allegations turn out to be true.

WSFA-TV, Federal Judge Mark Fuller's caseload reassigned in wake of arrest, Posted: Aug 10, 2014, updated Aug 13, 2014. All cases that were pending before Federal Judge Mark Fuller, who presides over legal matters in Alabama's Middle District, are being reassigned to other judges, effective immediately. The order to remove the judge's caseload was given by the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and comes in the wake of the judge's own legal troubles in which he was arrested over the weekend and charged with assaulting his wife. The Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals said Fuller's misdemeanor charges are a matter of public record and the case is pending in State Court in Georgia. The Court went on to say that no new legal matters will be assigned to the judge until further notice. Atlanta police arrested Fuller, 55, on Saturday, August 8 after responding to a call around 10:45 p.m. at the Ritz Carlton hotel on Peachtree Street. According to a police report on the incident, Fuller's wife says he hit her in the mouth several times with his hands, pulled her to the ground and kicked her, and dragged her around the room. In 911 tapes that were made public, you can hear what seems to be the altercation in the background.

Caller: "Please help me he's beating on me."

Operator: "What's your..."

Operator: "1-8-1 Peachtree.."

Caller: "He's beating on me please help me."

Operator: "That's the Ritz Carlton?"

Operator: "Yes!"

Operator: "And what is she saying?"

Operator: "She said that she's in a domestic fight and I can hear him hitting her now

Fuller's wife had visible injuries, according to police department spokesperson Kim Jones. The victim was treated on the scene by medics but refused to be transported to a hospital. The police report shows that Fuller's wife claims her husband was having an affair with a colleague. She then said that Fuller hit her repeatedly, pulled her hair and threw her to the ground and kicked her.

Legal Schnauzer, Could Federal Judge Face A Felony Charge Because Of Statements To Police About Assault On His Wife?  U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller saw his cases removed yesterday. But that might soon be the least of Fuller's worries in the wake of charges that he assaulted his wife in an Atlanta hotel room. Evidence made public so far strongly suggests that Fuller lied to law-enforcement officers who responded to a call about a disturbance at the Ritz Carlton on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Our research shows that making false statements to a police officer can be a felony in Georgia.

Associated Press via, 'He's beating on me,' wife of judge who presided over Siegelman, Scrushy trials says in 911 call, Staff report, Aug. 13, 2014. The wife of a federal judge arrested earlier this week on suspicion of hitting her told emergency dispatchers that she was being beaten and needed an ambulance. U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, meanwhile, has been stripped of his case load in the Middle District of Alabama as he stands charged with misdemeanor domestic battery in a Georgia court. In a recording of a 911 call obtained by The Associated Press, the woman who dialed authorities identified herself as Kelli Fuller and reported that she was involved in a domestic dispute at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Atlanta. "He's beating on me. Please help me," the woman tells the 911 dispatcher before saying that she needed paramedics. The recording was released to AP on Wednesday in response to an open records request.

Associated Press via Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, Federal judge accused of hitting wife in argument, Bill Barrow, Aug. 11, 2014. A federal judge known for sentencing a former Alabama governor to prison in a corruption case was released from an Atlanta jail Monday after he was accused of hitting his wife when she accused him of infidelity. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, 55, posted a $5,000 bond after a hearing in Fulton County Magistrate Court.  Atlanta police arrested Fuller early Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Atlanta after responding to a complaint from his wife, Kelli Fuller. Mark Fuller indicated in court Monday that he will hire a private attorney. Misdemeanor offenses in Georgia generally are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Fuller did not return a telephone message left in his chambers. Kelli and Mark Fuller married after the judge and his previous wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, divorced in 2012. The divorce file, held in Montgomery County, was sealed at Mark Fuller's request. Through the attorney who represented her in the divorce, Lisa Boyd Fuller declined comment Monday.

OpEd News, Will President Obama Maintain Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence in the Case of Federal Judge Mark Fuller? Dana Jill Simpson, Aug. 13 2014. This October President Obama and Vice President Biden will be faced with a challenge to the seriousness of their commitment to zero tolerance for domestic violence. They are now confronted by a sitting federal judge in Alabama named Mark Fuller who has been arrested for battery against his wife in the "ritzy" Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlanta Georgia. Fuller has been quoted in the press on the day of his release stating that he "just pushed" his wife (Kelli Gregg Fuller) to the ground and was defending himself from an attack by her, triggered by her concerns over his possible infidelity.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Federal judge arrested in Atlanta; accused of assaulting wife, Chris Joyner, Aug. 10, 2014. Atlanta police arrested a federal judge Saturday evening on charges that he assaulted his wife. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller was charged with misdemeanor battery and taken to the Fulton County jail around 2:30 Sunday morning. Fuller, 55, is a judge in the Middle District of Alabama and presided over the 2006 bribery trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. According to a jail official, the judge has a 9 a.m. Monday court appearance and was expected to remain in jail overnight. Police responded to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at 181 Peachtree Street at 10:47 p.m. According to Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones, officers spoke to Fuller’s wife, “who stated she was assaulted by her husband.” Fuller’s wife, who was not named by police, was treated by paramedics but refused treatment at a hospital.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Domestic violence arrest unlikely to remove federal judge from bench, Rhonda Cook, Aug. 12, 2014. Federal Judge Mark Fuller is unlikely to face any professional repercussion s because of his misdemeanor battery charge brought over the weekend after he was accused of a physical altercation with his wife at a downtown Atlanta hotel. With a lifetime appointment to the federal court, the only way to remove a judge from the bench is via the long and complicated impeachment process and then a trial in the U.S. Senate, according to experts. Federal judges accused of felonies have not been immediately removed though some have resigned. Fuller is charged with a misdemeanor.

Montgomery Advertiser, Federal judge Mark Fuller released from Atlanta jail, Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser, Aug. 11, 2014. U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller on Monday was released from an Atlanta jail after posting a $5,000 bond. The police report on the incident, first obtained by Decaturish, an Atlanta news site, said Fuller's wife showed evidence of lacerations to her mouth and forehead when the responding officer came. According to the report, the woman, who is not identified by name, confronted Fuller over issues in their marriage, including a belief that Fuller was having an affair with a law clerk. "(The victim) stated when she confronted him about their issues, he pulled her to the ground and kicked her," the report states. "(The victim) also stated she was dragged around the room and Fuller hit her in the mouth several times with his hands." Under federal law, a complaint about a judge's conduct would be referred to the Chief Judge of the Court of the Appeals for the circuit. The official reviews the complaint and can choose to dismiss it or form a committee consisting of the Chief Judge and circuit and district judges in the circuit. The committee can do everything from dismiss the complaint to publicly censure the judge in question and request voluntary retirement. The American Judicature Society, which monitors judicial ethics, said complaints generally focus around a judge's physical or mental ability to carry out the duties of the bench, or for "conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts." "The broad question is that some one could file a complaint related to this, and the circuit could investigate it," said John Carroll, a former federal judge and dean of the Cumberland School of Law at Sanford University. "It depends on the facts and circumstances." The commission may also refer a judge's case to the House of Representatives for possible impeachment, the only way a federal judge may be involuntarily removed. Since 1789, 15 federal judges have been impeached. Samuel Kent, a federal judge from Texas, was impeached in 2009 after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to a committee that was investigating accusations of sexual harassment brought against Kent by a female employee. Kent resigned before a trial in the Senate could take place. In 2010, Thomas Porteous, a federal judge in Louisiana, was impeached and removed from office for making false financial disclosures.

Associated Press via WSBT-V (ABC News Birmingham), Federal judge who presided over Siegelman, Scrushy trial in jail, Aug. 10, 2014. Federal Judge Mark Fuller was arrested at an Atlanta hotel Saturday night and taken to the Fulton County jail. He's accused of assaulting his wife. Atlanta police say Fuller's wife called from the Ritz Carlton on Peachtree Street around 10:47 p.m.. She told police she was assaulted by her husband. Officers reported injuries to her. She was treated on scene and refused to go to the hospital. Police say Fuller was not injured.

Legal Schnauzer, Alabama Federal Judge Who Was Charged With Assaulting Wife Has Faced Charges Of Domestic Abuse In The Past, Roger Shuler, Aug. 11, 2014. Quite a few Americans probably were shocked to learn that a federal judge from Alabama was arrested over the weekend on charges of assaulting his wife in an Atlanta hotel room. But to those who have closely followed the career of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller (Middle District of Alabama), the charges are not a surprise. During a 2012 divorce from his first wife, Fuller faced allegations of domestic abuse, extramarital affairs, driving under the influence, abuse of prescription medications, and more. Why is that not well known among the public? Here is the likely reason: Lisa Boyd Fuller filed for divorce on May 10, 2012, and her complaint and interrogatories quickly found their way into the Alabama press. The complaint was fairly mild, but the interrogatories raised all sorts of unsavory issues about the judge. Mark Fuller's lawyer then requested that the file be sealed, and an Alabama state judge granted the request, even though divorce records generally are considered public records.

Dick ShelbyOpEdNews, Alabama Judicial Scandal Could Taint Many Cases, Not Just Siegelman's, May 17, 2012. An Alabama newspaper exposed a scandal May 16 that deserves national prominence that will not occur without you as participants in the alternative and social media. The headline was "Federal judge's lengthy affair with court worker is exposed." This is a scandal not simply for the judge, Mark Everett Fuller. It is a lifetime shame for those in the Justice Department, federal court system and the United States Senate who have coddled and protected him for an entire decade during his obvious previous disgraces. A decade ago, Alabama's pension officials accused Fuller of trying to bilk the system out of $330,000 by his advocacy of unmerited pension benefits for a former staffer. Yet Alabama's two Republican senators, Richard Shelby (shown at right) and Jeff Sessions, pushed Fuller forward for a lifetime appointment, which Fuller received from voice vote by the United States Senate with no serious discussion of his past. Fuller and his court staff were able to hide from public view a 180-page impeachment filing against him in 2003 with no apparent attempt at investigation. In 2006, he presided over one of the nation's most sinister political prosecutions in modern times. The defense did not know that the judge was also being enriched via a military contracting company, Doss Aviation, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid Bush contracts.

Legal Schnauzer, Sex, Drugs, and Violence Are At The Heart Of Divorce Case Against Siegelman Judge Mark Fuller, Roger Shuler, May 18, 2012. A request for admissions can be one of the most entertaining documents in a lawsuit.  Lisa Boyd Fuller is suing the judge for divorce. If even half of the items in her request for admissions are true, it's a wonder Judge Fuller could even pay attention during the Siegelman case--much less rule correctly on key matters of law, with the freedom of two men at stake. Lisa Fuller's request is filled with sex, drugs, and violence--but no rock and roll (so far). The 18 items hint at a judge with a clouded mind, a nasty temperament, a lust for women other than his wife, and a monumental sense of entitlement.

Prosecution Discretion in White-Collar Cases

Bob McDonnell and Maureen McDonnell flickrJustice Integrity Project, Virginia Governor's Corruption Case Shows Prosecution Power, Andrew Kreig, Aug. 8, 2014. The federal corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell illustrates the power held by prosecutors to destroy a defendant -- or, conversely, to grant a wrist slap. As the trial finished its second week, looming large is the difference between the 14 counts McDonnell and his wife Maureen currently face and the prosecution's pre-trial offer of merely one count against the former governor if he would plead guilty. The difference between the government's plea bargain offer and the current charges shows how our legal system grants prosecutors too much authority compared with that of judges and juries. McDonnell and his wife (shown in a flickr photo) are accused of trading the governor's office prestige for more than $150,000 in gifts, vacations and loans from Jonnie Williams, head of a vitamin supplement start-up Star Scientific.

Major Revelations Regarding Judge Fuller and the Siegelman Case In 2009

Huffington Post, Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows….$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company, Andrew Kreig, May 15, 2009. The Alabama federal judge who presided over the 2006 corruption trial of the state's former governor holds a grudge against the defendant for helping to expose the judge's own alleged corruption six years ago. Former Gov. Don Siegelman therefore deserves a new trial with an unbiased judge ─ not one whose privately owned company, Doss Aviation, has been enriched by the Bush administration's award of $300 million in contracts since 2006, making the judge millions in non-judicial income. These are the opinions of Missouri attorney Paul B. Weeks, who is speaking out publicly for the first time since his effort in 2003 to obtain the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery on Doss Aviation-related allegations.

Huffington Post, Siegelman's First Trial Judge Blasts U.S. Prosecutors, Seeks Probe of 'Unfounded' Charges, Andrew Kreig, May 21, 2009. One of the most experienced federal judges in recent Alabama history is denouncing the U.S. Justice Department prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Retired Chief U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon of Birmingham calls for a probe of misconduct by federal prosecutors ─ including their alleged "judge-shopping," jury-pool "poisoning" and "unfounded" criminal charges in an effort to imprison Siegelman.

Huffington Post, Alabama Decisions Illustrate Abuse of Judicial Power, Andrew Kreig, June 10, 2009. The plight of litigants who face a biased judge is illustrated by the track record of a prominent Alabama federal judge, as well by major recent decisions requiring new trials in West Virginia and Georgia courts. The track record of Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery, Alabama shows that he continues to supervise cases compromised by his personal, financial or political interests despite his promise at his 2002 confirmation hearing to recuse himself from any conflicts. Exposure of Fuller's record is timely because of the Senate's forthcoming hearings for Obama administration judicial nominees, and because of growing concerns about the recusal standard. These include the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling June 8 that a West Virginia Supreme Court judge should have recused himself from a case involving a major contributor to his judicial election campaign. Also, a federal judge in Georgia admitted last month that he shouldn't have tried and sentenced a high-profile political adversary who now seeks dismissal of the charges.

C-SPAN, Prosecutorial Misconduct Forum At National Press Club, Organized by Justice Integrity Project, moderated by Andrew Kreig, and co-sponsored by Alliance for Justice, June 26, 2009 (3 hours, 4 minutes), Video: C-SPAN. 

Huffington Post, Did the DoJ Blackmail Siegelman Witness With Sex Scandal? Andrew Kreig, July 21, 2009.The top government witness in the 2006 federal conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges is providing new evidence that prosecutors failed to fulfill their legal obligation to provide the defense with all records documenting witness-coaching. Former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey swears that prosecutors failed to reveal to the defense details of most of his two dozen prep sessions before he became the Bush Justice Department's key witness that former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy bribed the former Democratic governor. Scrushy arranged $500,000 in donations to an education non-profit fostered by Siegelman to increase school funding. At trial, Bailey suggested the donations were required by Siegelman to reappoint Scrushy to a state regulatory board. The defendants, bolstered by legal experts and whistleblowers, claim that they were framed to eliminate Siegelman from politics. Even more explosive than an alleged failure by prosecutors to comply with federal trial procedures is a sworn statement by Bailey's current employer Luther "Stan" Pate, another Alabama businessman.

Netroots Nation, Reporting DoJ Misconduct Scandals, Former Gov. Don Siegelman, Dr. Cyril Wecht, Jerry McDevitt, Gail Sistrunk, moderated by Andrew Kreig, Aug. 15, 2009 (Video).

Grimes Huffington Post, As Rove Testifies About Firings At Justice, Why Did DoJ Fire Whistleblower? July 8, 2009. New questions are surfacing about political intrigue at the U.S. Justice Department after former White House political strategist Karl Rove provided his long-awaited responses to House Judiciary Committee staff Tuesday about allegations that he pressured prosecutors to target Democrats nationally. Few details have emerged about Rove's questioning on such topics as the 2006 dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys for political reasons. By remarkable coincidence, however, the Justice Department separately confirmed Tuesday that it has fired Alabama whistleblower Tamarah Grimes. She was the top in-house paralegal for the prosecution team that won corruption convictions in 2006 against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Grimes later provided her Justice Department superiors and Congress with evidence that the rights of the defendants were violated. Siegelman and Scrushy cited her revelations heavily in their motions since June 26 for a new trial based on new evidence. In an interview today for this article, Grimes alleged a bone-chilling conspiracy to frame the defendants for political gain. She says her experiences opened her eyes to parallels outside Alabama and to the ruinous consequences for federal government employees of protesting injustice. "No one helps you," says Grimes, who adds that she was browbeaten with threats of false criminal charges by her superiors and investigators alike. She says Congress needs to enhance protections for whistleblowers to prevent wrongdoing by government officials. Justice Department spokesman Tracy Schmaler responded, "The Department takes seriously its obligation under the whistleblower law, and did not violate it with regards to the termination of this employee. For privacy reasons, it would be inappropriate to comment any further on this personnel matter at this time."

KNOW: The Magazine For Paralegals, From Justice Dream Job to Nightmare…Tamarah Grimes, Justice Department Paralegal…Why This Whistleblower Was Dissed & Dismissed, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 11, 2009. As federal prosecutors prepared in 2006 for the corruption trial of Alabama’s former Gov. Don Siegelman, Justice Department paralegal Tamarah Grimes thought she was progressing well in her career. Indeed, she was the government’s top in-house paralegal in one of the country’s most important federal prosecutions, which targeted an iconic former governor along with one of their state’s richest businessmen. But just a year later, the prosecution’s all-out effort to convict Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy brought Grimes to a career crisis.  In July 2007, Grimes stepped forward to allege that her colleagues had violated basic legal protections to ensure a fair trial.

Huffington Post, Siegelman Blasts DoJ and Judge In ‘Final’ Reply Seeking Hearing, Sept. 21, 2009. Siegelman's 65-page filing, available here, noted that Middle District U.S. Attorney Leura Canary claimed that she recused from decision-making in the case. She verbally cited a conflict of interest involving her husband, William Canary, campaign manager to Siegelman's two-time gubernatorial rival, Bob Riley, Siegelman, however, cited in his brief a claim by the former prosecutor's employee, Justice Department paralegal Tamarah Grimes, stating that her boss was still making suggestions about the case to subordinates after a supposed recusal. Also, Siegelman's appeal to the federal appeals court in Atlanta claims that Fuller wrongly increased Siegelman's prison time by citing allegations that failed to win conviction in the 2006 jury trial.

Judge Fuller's Sealed Divorce Case

Don Siegelman

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Montgomery circuit court seals file in U.S. district judge's divorce proceedings, Amanda Simmons, May 29, 2012. Three journalists requested access to the sealed file of an Alabama-based federal judge's divorce proceedings wrought with accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse and the judge's alleged affair with his court bailiff. The journalists and other legal watchers have expressed concern that the court quietly sealed the records without taking the standard procedural steps. Citing security reasons, U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery, Ala., moved to seal the file of his divorce proceedings on April 20 despite his wife's objections. Without providing an explanation, a judge in the domestic relations division of Montgomery County Circuit Court granted the request on May 15. Last week, Andrew Kreig, director of the Justice Integrity Project in Washington, D.C.; Bob Martin, editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent and The Millbrook Independent in Alabama; and Roger Shuler, online content provider of the Alabama-based website Legal Schnauzer, submitted their request for public access.

Montgomery Independent, Judge got $18 million in Doss Aviation sale; Fuller divorce records have been sealed by judge in case, Bob Martin, May 31, 2012.  Montgomery Circuit Judge Anita Kelly has sealed the records in the divorce matter involving U. S. District Judge Mark Everett Fuller and his wife, Lisa. Fuller’s lawyers had requested that the file be sealed, however Mrs. Fuller had initially objected to the entire file being sealed. The Independent, Justice Integrity Project in Washington and Legal Schauzer in Birmingham have filed a request seeking the file to remain open to the public. Judge Kelly waited some three weeks after the case was filed before sealing the records.

The Independent reported last week that Judge Fuller and his partners sold Doss Aviation, located in Denver last December. We have now learned that the company which was moved from Enterprise to Colorado, brought $42 million and some change. If that is the correct number Fuller’s 43.75 percent share of the business earned him slightly more than $18 million. The company’s income has come primarily from U. S. Government contracts and once listed its mailing address at the United States Federal Courthouse, shortly after Fuller was appointed a judge by President George W. Bush. Doss Aviation  was a major source of Fuller’s income, probably the main source and its primary income came from government contracts or from those who received government contracts. Doss Aviation benefited from a steady stream of Department of Defense and other federal contracts some awarded on a no-bid basis under highly suspicious circumstances.

Legal Schnauzer, Biased "Reporting," Not Technology, Led to the Steep Decline of The Birmingham News, Roger Shuler, May 25,2012. Why would anyone subscribe to a "daily" newspaper that comes out three days a week? Do the News, Times, and P-R have futures as strictly digital news organizations? The Advance Media spin machine is playing this as a reaction to changing technology. But I would submit it's more about bias, backward thinking, and old-fashioned incompetence.

Associated Press / Huffington Post, Newhouse Newspapers In Alabama Cut Publication To Three Days A Week, May 24, 2012. Three major Alabama daily newspapers will switch to publishing three days a week as part of a new focus on online news, in line with their new Orleans sister publication, The Times-Picayune. The three papers in Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville and The Times-Picayune announced the new strategy Thursday. All four are owned by the Newhouse family group. Both announcements said there will be unspecified staff reductions. The changes will take place in the fall. The Alabama papers said the changes will allow them to expand news-gathering efforts in an increasingly digital age. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Joan BrunwasserOpEd News, What Federal Judge Fuller's Ugly Divorce Has to Do with Don Siegelman, (Interview of Andrew Kreig by Joan Brunwasser), May 25, 2012. The government's frame-up of Siegelman, right, Alabama's most popular Democrat, was the culmination of a two-decade plan by Karl Rove and his business allies to transform Alabama state politics and courts from historically Democratic to Karl Roveoverwhelmingly Republican. Parallel developments occurred also in Mississippi and Louisiana, but it was most dramatic in Alabama, where Rove and the Bush family have longstanding ties and where the historically Democratic black population is the smallest of any Deep South state. This rout of Democrats has left the party so enfeebled that the national party has in effect ceded to Republicans much of the control over the justice system in these regions, as otherwise in the guts of government. For example, the Obama administration left in office until last spring the Bush-appointed U.S. attorney who helped frame Siegelman, and then named as her successor a man who as a defense attorney represented the chief witness against Siegelman. This created a perverse incentive to keep a lid on the scandals. Further, Congress is abandoning its watchdog role except in a few partisan matters. In this case, we now know that some prominent Democrats from Alabama in effect sold out Siegelman for their own selfish purposes by bad-mouthing him and trial critics behind-the-scenes in Washington.
Scribd, Reporters' Petition to Unseal Alabama Federal Judge Mark Fuller's Divorce Records, May 24, 2012. This is a petition by journalists Andrew Kreig, Bob Martin and Roger Shuler to the Montgomery (AL) Circuit Court to unseal the divorce records of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller.

Siegelman Appeals

WAFF-TV, Appeals court grants former Alabama Governor hearing, Amanda Jarrett and Stephen Gallien, April 18, 2014. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an appeal filed by former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. Court officials say the hearing is tentatively scheduled for the week of July 28. Siegelman is serving a 78 month sentence for bribery, conspiracy and other charges. He's currently at Oakdale Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, Louisiana. Court documents filed in the Middle District of Alabama detail records needed for this appeal. Those records include nine volumes of pleadings, 113 volumes of transcripts, and three sealed boxes/exhibits. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is located in Atlanta.

Legal Schnauzer, Improper Actions Of Prosecutor And District Judge Are Focus Of New Appeal In Don Siegelman Case, Roger Shuler, Aug. 26, 2013. There is something fundamentally wrong with our judiciary when this nation can readily justify sending men and women into war zones claiming for reasons to provide others their freedoms and rights, yet here, especially within our own state that many have been, are consciously being denied those same freedoms and rights.

Prosecution Witness Nick Bailey's Background

Mark FullerThe rarely photographed Fuller is shown in a photo by Phil Fleming, whom the judge invited into chambers to provide a portrait minutes after the jury verdict in 2006.

CBS 60 Minutes, Did Ex-Alabama Governor Get A Raw Deal?  Scott Pelley, Feb. 24, 2008. Is Don Siegelman in prison because he's a criminal or because he belonged to the wrong political party in Alabama? Siegelman is the former governor of Alabama, and he was the most successful Democrat in that Republican state. But while he was governor, the U.S. Justice Department launched multiple investigations that went on year after year until, finally, a jury convicted Siegelman of bribery. Now, many Democrats and Republicans have become suspicious of the Justice Department's motivations. Press-Register, Warehouse deal brought Bailey attention, Bailey resigns post with Siegelman administraion, Jeff Amy, Eddie Curran, and Sallie Owen, Nov. 22, 2001. A top aide to Gov. Don Siegelman who had a central role in a state warehouse construction deal now under criminal investigation resigned from the administration on Wednesday. Nick Bailey, 33, has worked for Siegelman for seven years with job descriptions ranging from driver to agency head. A true insider in the Siegelman administration, he has accompanied the Siegelman family on vacation in the past. Bailey leaves for a job dealing with mergers, acquisitions and real estate development with an undisclosed Birmingham business, said Siegelman spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander. His resignation is effective Dec. 5. As of this spring, Bailey was being paid $90,595 a year and simultaneously held a trio of powerful jobs: director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, state budget officer and Siegelman's executive secretary. After a staff shakeup in June that included the departure of Siegelman's chief of staff, Paul Hamrick, Bailey has worn only the hat of confidential assistant.

Associated Press via Tuscaloosa News, Siegelman aide Nick Bailey is released from federal prison, Sept. 17, 2008. The key witness against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy has been released from federal prison. Former longtime Siegelman aide Nick Bailey was released from the federal prison in Atlanta Wednesday morning and transferred to a halfway house in Birmingham. Bailey has served one year of an 18-month sentence on bribery-related charges. Tuscaloosa businessman Stan Pate says he picked up Bailey at the penitentiary in Atlanta early Wednesday and drove him to Birmingham. Bailey worked for Pate for several years before reporting to prison last year. He said he has offered Bailey his job back. Bailey provided the key testimony that led to the 2006 conviction of Siegelman and Scrushy on bribery and other charges in a government corruption case.

Appointment of Nick Bailey's Defense Attorney, George Beck, As U.S. Attorney In Montgomery

Justice Integrity Project, Justice Irregularities In Alabama Continue Disgrace, Andrew Kreig, July 4, 2011. The U.S. Senate approved by voice vote June 30 a new U.S. attorney for Alabama, thereby extending a series of disgraces blighting the federal justice system in that state and nationally. The Senate voted to approve George Beck, 69, to run the Middle District office in Alabama’s capital city of Montgomery. The Senate failed to require that Beck, right, appear at a hearing to answer questions about a host of pending issues.

Four-Part Justice Integrity Project Series on Obama Nomination of George Beck

George BeckJustice Integrity Project, Part I: Senate Must Grill Tainted Alabama DOJ Nominee, Andrew Kreig, April 5, 2011. President Obama ended more than two years of high-profile White House indecision March 31 by naming the prominent Alabama attorney George L. Beck as his nominee to become U.S. attorney for the state’s Montgomery-based middle district. Despite an impressive career overall, Beck is a horrible choice because he was a compliant defense attorney in the notorious prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman’s, the state’s leading Democrat.

U.S. Sen. Jeff SessionsU.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al), right, helped champion with his colleague Sen. Dick Shelby the nominations of Mark Fuller to become U.S. District judge in 2002, Leura Canary to become U.S. attorney in 2001, and Democrat George Beck (at left) to succeed Canary even though Beck had a clear-cut conflicts of interest in that office's major prosecution, that of Siegelmand and Scrushy.

Justice Integrity Project, Part II: Bailey-Beck Siegelman Frame-up, Andrew Kreig, April 6, 2011. Two videos, one from June 2007 and another just seven months later in 2008, illustrate why George Beck is such a bad choice as the Obama nominee to run Alabama’s troubled middle district office in the state capital of Montgomery.

Justice Integrity Project, Part III: Beck's Backers Make Their Case, Andrew Kreig, April 8, 2011.  “For his diligence and relentless pursuit of justice, I have named George L. Beck to serve as a U.S. Attorney,” announced President Obama on March 31. “I am confident he will serve the people of Alabama with distinction.”

Justice Integrity Project, Part IV: What To Do About Obama's Alabama Snafu?, Andrew Kreig, April 8, 2011. The Justice Integrity Project today calls for the Senate Judiciary Committee to invite independent witnesses to testify at the confirmation hearing for George L. Beck, President Obama's nominee to become U.S. attorney for the middle district of Alabama. Only a full review of the conflicts surrounding this nationally important but dubious nomination can restore vitally needed public trust.

News Reports 2010-14

Leura CanaryJustice Integrity Project, 9/11 Commission's Forum Shows How DC 'Works,' Andrew Kreig, July 24, 2014. Members of 9/11 Commission this week leveraged the 10th anniversary of their report to announce a dozen recommendations focused primarily on improving the nation's security against terrorists. The former commissioners called for strong spending on counter-terrorism intelligence and more centralized oversight by fewer congressional committees. Speakers minimized divisive issues regarding past mysteries, and presented the proposals as reforms.

Justice Integrity Project, Scrushy Speaks, Film Director McTiernan Imprisoned, Andrew Kreig, April 6, 2013. Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy proclaimed his innocence last week in his first post-imprisonment interview. Scrushy was the co-defendant with former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in the most notorious political frame-up in recent American history. Scrushy told radio host Peter B. Collins that federal prosecutors offered before trial to let him go free if he would testify falsely against Siegelman, whom he was accused of bribing with a large donation to a non-profit organization Siegelman supported, the Alabama Education Foundation.

Alabama Gambling Scandals and Prosecutions

Politico, Exclusive: Powerhouse GOP group snared in money scheme, Alexander Burns, Aug. 4, 2014. Since the Republican State Leadership Committee burst into national politics, it’s become one of the most influential outside players on the right: It spent tens of millions of dollars to flip state legislative chambers and redraw the congressional map in Republicans’ favor — and is poised to pump millions more this fall into locking down state capitals for the GOP. But the group’s swift ascent has not come without controversy — or lingering legal hazard. At the height of its political emergence, the RSLC was implicated in a risky campaign finance scheme that an internal report warned could trigger “possible criminal penalties” and “ultimately threaten the organization’s continued existence,” according to a confidential document Politico obtained from a source. The September 2011 report, prepared by the prominent Washington law firm Baker Hostetler, was presented to an RSLC board then helmed by former Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie — RSLC’s chief financial rainmaker starting in 2010 and now a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Never disclosed until now, the document detailed an investigation into alleged misconduct by multiple RSLC officials during the crucial 2010 election cycle: It charged that national RSLC leaders conspired improperly with the leader of the Alabama Republican Party to use the RSLC as Bob Rileya pass-through for controversial Indian tribe donations, essentially laundering “toxic” money from the gaming industry by routing it out of state and then back into Alabama. “If these events are made public, the resulting media frenzy will be a political disaster for Alabama Republicans, a disaster with which RSLC will forever be associated,” the report concluded.

Alabama Political Reporter, Riley/Hubbard Funding of Non-Profit Raises Serious Questions, Bill Britt, Aug. 8, 2014. In February, 2013, the Alabama Political Reporter revealed that in 2010, Governor Bob Riley, in conjunction with then Minority Leader Mike Hubbard, funneled money from various PACs, and from the RSLC to Citizens for a Better Alabama, (CBA), to stop bingo-style gaming from becoming legal in the State. But, certain statements made by the group's founder, A. Eric Johnston, and various suspect actions by Riley (shown in an official photo from his two terms extending from 2003 to 2011) and Hubbard, indicate there is more to this story than just one group's battle against gambling. A recently disclosed 2011 investigation by the Republican State Leadership Committee, (RSLC), showed that there were great concerns over donations given to CBA from the RSLC: “The $100,000 contribution to Citizens for a Better Alabama (CBA), which is not controlled by Hubbard, is particularly troubling.  CBA is not a Republican PAC, and it is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for RLSC to contribute money to a non­ Republican group. Worse, CBA appears to be the renamed "Citizens Against Legalized Lottery ("CALL")," one of the Christian groups through which Jack Abramoff funneled Choctaw Indian-money to help Ralph Reed rally social conservatives against,” the report concludes.” However, it appears that the investigator, nor the RSLC knew that it was Riley along with Hubbard who were in-fact controlling CBA, by proxy. According to Johnston, Riley and Hubbard not only procured the funds for CBA, they directed where the money would be spent., Mike Hubbard says scathing contribution memo 'isn't worth the paper,' it's written on, Leada Gore, Aug. 8, 2014. Alabama speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said a report tying him to a plan to use a GOP organization to hide campaign donations from Alabama gambling interests "isn't worth the paper it's written on." Hubbard, a Republican from Auburn, told the Opelika-Auburn News the report has more to do with troubles from within the national Republican State Leadership Committee than anything that occurred in Alabama. "It is obvious that an internal power struggle between factions of the (Republican State Leadership Committee) prompted this report, and there is absolutely no reason to bring Alabama or contributions reported long ago into that battle," Hubbard told the O-A News. Hubbard's comments came after a Monday article in Politico detailed how the Porch Creek Indians, which operate casinos in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery, donated more than $578,000 to the RSLC in 2010. The RSLC then turned around and directed the money to several Alabama PACs, most of which were controlled by Hubbard.

Legal Schnauzer, Evidence Shows Republicans Are Lying About Their Use Of Indian Gambling Funds In Alabama, Roger Shuler, Oct. 24, 2012. Prominent Alabama Republicans this week said they did not know that funds used to fight non-Indian gaming in the state came from Indian gambling sources. A check of public records shows the Republicans almost certainly were lying. A $100,000 check that went to an Alabama anti-gambling organization in 2010 originated with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and was funneled through the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), according to a report in the Montgomery Advertiser. The same article showed that Indian gambling money, via the RSLC, played a prominent role in the Republican takeover of the Alabama Legislature in 2010. Three key Republicans connected to the story--Homewood attorney Rob Riley, conservative lawyer and activist A. Eric Johnston, and House Speaker Mike Hubbard--said they had no idea the RSLC took money from gambling sources. But a simple check of public documents on the Web shows the GOP trio either was lying or was stunningly out of touch. The Alabama denials are even more hard to swallow in light of recent reports that two Las Vegas casino moguls--Steve Wynn, of Wynn Resorts, and Sherman Adelson, of the Las Vegas Sands, gave more than $625,000 to the RSLC in recent months. Another report shows that Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, of Las Vegas, has given $165,299 to the RSLC.

Florence Times-Daily (Alabama), Millions lost in Alabama gambling trial, Mike Goens, March 11, 2012. Did the guilty get away with it or did another political witch hunt blow up in the faces of those with an agenda? Either way, between $35 million and $40 million of our tax dollars walked out the door Wednesday with the remaining six defendants in a federal gambling corruption trial. All six, as well as fellow defendants who were acquitted in 2011 during the first trial, were found not guilty Wednesday. By the way, some estimate as much as $50 million was spent on investigating and prosecuting the defendants, which included a casino owner, former and current state legislators, lobbyists and others. In trying to answer the question posed above, it seems logical this case is another example of a political witch hunt gone bad....You know, $35 million could pay for a nice prison in a state so financially strapped that many convicts will likely be released early because it cannot afford to house them. Imagine that, building a new prison for real criminals instead of wasting money on a political agenda. Don’t underestimate the financial losses and attacks on personal reputations that defendants suffered in this case. The government doesn’t have to worry about those individuals. Prosecutors can go on to the next case without any financial obligation. It’s unfair at best.

WHNT-TV NEWS 19 of Huntsville, Alabama, The jury has announced verdicts in the state bingo trial, March 7, 2012. The jury found all defendants NOT guilty of all charges. The defendants are Milton McGregor, lobbyist Tom Coker, former State Senator Larry Means, Senator Jim Preuitt, Senator Harri Anne Smith and Jay Walker. All are now cleared.

Daily Mail Online, The top 10 most-corrupt states in the USA revealed, Joel Christie, Aug. 10, 2014. A joint venture between the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University, the study was based on research of more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws. Mississippi named No. 1, with other southern states like Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky listed. A new study claims to have determined the most unscrupulous states in the USA, based on research of more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008.

Blogger Roger Shuler Jailed Until He Spikes Stories

Roger ShulerDaily Censored, Media Shirked Duties As Alabama Jailed Journalist Fought For First Amendment, Andrew Kreig, April 8, 2014.The nation’s media provided remarkably little support for an Alabama journalist jailed for five months while he fought against prior restraint of his investigative reporting.  A part-time state judge freed blogger Roger Shuler March 26 after Shuler spiked columns alleging an affair between a reputed congressional candidate and a lobbyist. With rare exceptions, journalism groups and news outlets failed to protest the flagrantly illegal treatment the hand-picked judge inflicted on Shuler and his readers. Abuses included the writer’s arrest and beating at his home Oct. 23 after plaintiffs accused him of libel. Shuler’s treatment exemplifies the national media’s increasingly bizarre behavior. They combine self-righteous First Amendment rhetoric and aggressive support for "democracy-building" in foreign lands with craven self-censorship at home in deference to the powerful.

Birmingham News /, Shelby County blogger sentenced to 90 days for resisting arrest, remains in jail without bond on contempt charges, Kelsey Stein, Jan. 15, 2014. Blogger Roger Shuler was arrested for contempt of court and resisting arrest after he violated a court order, but some legal experts say the order was unconstitutional. A Shelby County blogger remains in jail after a judge found him guilty of resisting arrest.

Cornad Black

Huffington Post, Why Is This Journalist In Jail? Conrad Black, left, Jan. 16, 2014. It might have been expected that Alabama would be the first jurisdiction in this hemisphere in many years to imprison a journalist. This is the lot of Roger Shuler, blogger under the title "Legal Schnauzer," which implies a self-image of a persistent, aggressive, little dog, with a loud bark. Shuler is accused of taking liberties with the truth, but his self-image seems to be fairly well accepted as exact. Shuler and his wife operate a left-wing blog from their home in Birmingham, Alabama, and although the New York Times has declared the Schnauzer's allegations "fuzzily sourced," the Shulers get high marks for fearless, if rather undiscriminating, assaults on their subjects. These are generally drawn from the infinitely target-rich environment of the Alabama right, which includes practically all the state's Republicans and most of its Democrats. Roger Shuler's blog grew from a fierce dispute with his neighbor, which spread in defamation actions to his neighbor's lawyer, who, as a result of the skirmishing, ended up as part owner of the Shulers' house. The whole affair also lifts the lid on the byzantine murkiness of Alabama political prosecutions and scandals, that have been the most notorious in the country for this sort of activity for the last 20 years or so. It is all shabby, tawdry, and distasteful (though entertaining in places), but so is much of Alabama public life, and so are vast areas of the U.S. justice system.

Reuters, Blogger gets same speech protections as traditional press: U.S. court, Dan Levine, Jan. 17, 2014. A blogger is entitled to the same free speech protections as a traditional journalist and cannot be liable for defamation unless she acted negligently, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday. Crystal Cox lost a defamation trial in 2011 over a blog post she wrote accusing a bankruptcy trustee and Obsidian Finance Group of tax fraud. A lower court judge had found that Obsidian did not have to prove that Cox acted negligently because Cox failed to submit evidence of her status as a journalist. But in the ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Cox deserved a new trial, regardless of the fact that she is not a traditional reporter. "As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable," 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Hurwitz wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.