Federal judge accused of hitting wife in argument

ATLANTA — 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. He is charged with misdemeanor battery and must appear in court again Aug. 22.

A former local prosecutor and appointee of President George W. Bush, Fuller has served in the Middle District of Alabama since 2002, serving as chief judge from 2004 until 2011.

Atlanta police arrested Fuller early Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Atlanta after responding to a complaint from his wife, Kelli Fuller.

According to the police report, both the Fullers admit to an alteraction, 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.”

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.

On the bench, Mark Fuller is best known for presiding over the 2006 public corruption trial of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Among other things, jurors convicted Siegelman of accepting political contributions in exchange for granting Scrushy a seat on a regulatory board key to the health-care executive’s business interests.

But the trial also focused on attention on Fuller, an active Republican before he joined the bench, and his handling of the case against a once-popular Democratic governor.

According to the Middle District’s online schedule, Fuller had been scheduled to preside in his own courtroom Monday at 10 a.m. for a hearing. He has two trials, one of them requiring jury selection, scheduled for next week, and he has multiple hearings scheduled for Aug. 22, the day he’s due back in Atlanta as a defendant.

Federal judges are confirmed by the Senate to lifetime terms.

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