Judge Mark Fuller's court cases to be reassigned after arrest for allegedly hitting wife
ATLANTA (AP) 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. Atlanta police arrested Fuller, 55, early Sunday. He was released from the Fulton County Jail on a $5,000 bond after a hearing Monday. Best known for sentencing former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to prison after a public corruption conviction, Fuller must appear in court again Aug. 22. 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. The woman's voice can be heard loudly repeating: "Help me, please. Please help me. He's beating on me." The initial dispatcher tells the ambulance dispatcher: "She says that she's in a domestic fight and I can hear him hitting her now." According to a written incident report, Kelli Fuller "answered the door in tears" when police arrived. She had visible cuts on her mouth and forehead when police arrived. She 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, Alabama, 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 and Mark Fuller married after the judge and his previous wife, Lisa Boyd Fuller, divorced in 2012. That divorce file in Montgomery County was sealed at Mark Fuller's request. Misdemeanor offenses in Georgia generally are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. But Fuller already faces professional consequences for his arrest, as a notice posted on the 11th Judicial Circuit's website said all cases pending in his court will be reassigned to other judges and that no new matters will be assigned to him "until further notice." 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 scheduled for next week and multiple hearings scheduled for Aug. 22, the day he's due back in Atlanta as a defendant. A woman who answered the telephone at the judge's chambers on Wednesday gave no comment. Federal judges are confirmed by the Senate to lifetime terms, though the chamber can also remove them from office. Fuller, a former district attorney in southwest Alabama, was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2002 upon the recommendation of Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, both Republicans. Through aides, both senators have declined comment. ___ Follow the reporters on Twitter @katiefoody and @BillBarrowAP.
ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama offers news, sports, and weather reporting for the surrounding communities including Tuscaloosa, Anniston, Cullman, Gadsden, Talladega, Sylacauga, Carbon Hill, Jasper, Hoover, Bessemer, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster, Trussville and Homewood.