Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman is currently serving a 6.5 year sentence in a federal prison for something that he did not personally profit from, did not know was a crime, and that 113 bi-partisan former state Attorneys General agree had never been a crime before Siegelman was convicted of it.
That's all thanks to a political prosecution orchestrated by Karl Rove, a corrupt federal prosecutor, the corrupt federal prosecutor's husband (who happened to be the Campaign Manager of Siegelman's political opponent) and others, most of whom were close friends and/or clients of Rove.
One of them, Mark Fuller, the Republican federal U.S. District Court judge who sentenced Siegelman to those years in federal prison, refused to recuse himself from the case, despite having a very clear conflict of interest and very specific grudge against Siegelman.
Two weeks ago, Judge Fuller was arrested for beating his wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel. (You can read all of the, literally, bloody details from the police report, as covered them at the time, at that link.)
This week, as it turns out, Fuller may have figured out how to not only avoid any prison time at all, but he may be able to even avoid prosecution entirely...
Programs help some defendants avoid criminal prosecution, and a defense lawyer says U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller is open to such a chance in Fulton County.
The defense says Fuller is entering treatment for an unspecified reason, and the Atlanta court offers pre-trial intervention and diversion programs for some defendants. One of the programs is for people in treatment programs.
Fuller's defense attorney Jeff Brickman says he plans to talk to a prosecutor soon about the possibility. Brickman says Fuller would welcome the chance to end the case without prosecution.
As we noted in our original report on Fuller's arrest, the Atlanta Police report described him having pulled his wife around the hotel room by her hair and stiking her in the mouth several times after she accused him of having an affair with his law clerk. Blood was said to have been discovered in the bathroom, and the wife had lacerations on her face and bruises on her legs.
And it should be noted that this is not the first time Fuller has been accused of domestic abuse in his previous marriage as well. As Dan Whistenhunt of Decaturish.com reported: "The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press reported in 2012 that a Montgomery circuit judge sealed Fuller's divorce records. The divorce file is, 'wrought with accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse and the judge's alleged affair with his court bailiff,' according to the Reporters Committee."
After Siegelman was sentenced --- for a non-violent offense that had never been a crime before he decided that Siegelman committed it --- Judge Fuller ordered the former Governor immediately shackled and hauled away to jail, rather than allowed to go free pending appeal, which is normally the custom in such cases.
If only Siegelman had been a drunk who beat his wife bloody and then checked into a treatment program, he might have been able to avoid prosecution entirely, along with years of prison time as sentenced by Fuller --- who appears to be a drunk that beat his wife bloody and has now checked in for treatment, even as Siegelman serves out years in a federal correctional institution...thanks to Fuller.
In the meantime, as the Montgomery Advertiser noted late last week, after being released on bond following his arrest, and while attending the unspecified "treatment program": "Fuller, appointed to the bench by then-President George W. Bush, has a lifetime appointment and continues receiving his annual salary of about $200,000 despite being stripped of courtroom duties."
UPDATE 9/5/2014: Fuller strikes deal with court to avoid prosecution, have all charges dropped and record expunged upon successful court-approved alcohol and drug evaluation and once-a-week domestic abuse counseling for 24 weeks. Full details now here...
UPDATE 9/10/2014: NFL's Ray Rice loses job for striking his wife in hotel elevator (on video). Federal Judge Mark Fuller to keep lifetime appointment to the federal bench after beating wife bloody in hotel room (not on video). Remarkable similarities in cases, remarkable differences in public, Congressional responses. Full story now here...