• Donald V. Watkins

Why Federal Prosecutors Protected Judge Mark E. Fuller

Updated: Oct 11

By: Donald V. Watkins

October 9, 2022


Many federal judges are lawbreakers themselves. A lot of them have a dark side that nobody wants to talk about. Their colleagues in the federal criminal justice system often bail them out of their embarrassing predicaments, and move on.


Mark E. Fuller, the former Chief U.S. District Judge in Montgomery, Alabama, is a case in point. Fuller is the federal judge who "railroaded" former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy in USA v. Siegelman and Scrushy. He was a wife-beater, liar, and perpetrator who obstructed an official investigation into his conduct on the bench.


On September 9, 2015, the Judicial Conference of the United States issued a Report to Congress that certified the following conduct by Fuller:


“(a) Judge Fuller physically abused Kelli Fuller at least eight times, both before and after they married, which included and culminated in the assault that took place on August 9, 2014, in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.


(b) Judge Fuller made repeated statements under oath before the Special Committee that he never, at any time, hit, kicked, or punched Kelli Fuller, which were false and material under 18 U.S.C. § 1621.


(c) Judge Fuller made false statements to the Chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit in late September 2010 in a way that caused a massive disruption in the District Court's operation and loss of public confidence in the Court as an instrument of justice. These false statements, in combination with the actions outlined in (a) and (b), contributed to the overall determination that Judge Fuller's conduct may constitute grounds for impeachment.


(d) The conduct described in (a)-(c) has individually and collectively brought disrepute to the federal Judiciary.”


The reference to 18 U.S.C. § 1621 is particularly significant. This is the federal criminal statute for perjury.


Even though the Judicial Conference certified that Mark Fuller: (a) committed multiple acts of perjury, (b) gave repeated false statements to federal law enforcement officials during the course of an official investigation, and (c) obstructed the investigation, no federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., or in Atlanta, or in Montgomery, Alabama initiated criminal charges against him.


Why Was Fuller Not Prosecuted?


Fuller presided over the criminal case of USA v. Siegelman and Richard Scrushy (2005-06). As the trial judge, Fuller aggressively “railroaded” the defendants in this case.


Prosecutors shopped the case to Fuller for this purpose. Fuller did everything within his power to “fix” the case for the Montgomery-based federal prosecutors, who won convictions against both men.


After the Judicial Conference’s 2015 report confirmed that Mark Fuller was a serial wife-beater, liar, and obstructionist, then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, an Obama appointee, refused to use the authority of his office to: (a) remedy the manifest injustice in the Siegelman/Scrushy criminal case, or (b) pursue the prosecution of Mark E. Fuller for any of crimes he committed on the bench.


The nature and extent of Holder’s subsequent and inexcusable complicity in the Siegelman/Scrushy case is skillfully presented in a 2017 Amazon Prime Video documentary titled, “Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman.” The passage of time has done nothing to sanitize Holder’s obvious complicity in this miscarriage of justice.


Epilogue


The Department of Justice's failure to prosecute Mark Fuller in the aftermath of the 2015 Judicial Conference Report is a glaring example of the federal criminal justice system protecting an "insider" and a "certified" crook. This blatant act of protectionism did more to bring disrepute to the federal law enforcement community than anything Fuller did.


Fuller's situation is just one more example of this pervasive form of incestuous protectionism. I will roll out other examples in upcoming articles.


This is why so many well-meaning Americans from all walks of life distrust the FBI, federal prosecutors, the U.S. Attorney General, and federal judges (from top to bottom). Who can blame them?


In 2014, I placed an unrelenting media spotlight on Mark Fuller's despicable criminal conduct and filed a formal complaint with U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts about Fuller's gross misconduct as a federal judge. These acts of journalism under fire forced Fuller to resign from the federal bench in 2015.


This is one of the reasons why the federal law enforcement community in Alabama constantly seeks to discredit my online media voice, or silence it altogether.


PHOTO: Federal Judge Mark E. Fuller's 2014 mugshot after he was arrested in Atlanta for severely beating his wife, Kelli Fuller.

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