Siegelman trial judge spoke at Ferg, denies Rove connection

Rich Robinson

Mark Fuller, a University of Alabama graduate and federal judge best known for presiding over the trial of former Gov. Don Siegelman spoke to a group of student leaders at the Ferguson Center last night. In an address that focused on integrity, Fuller also responded to the criticism that made him “infamous” during the trial of Siegelman and founder of HealthSouth, Richard Scrushy.

Nick Lambert, a graduate assistant who was involved in bringing Fuller to the Capstone for the speech, thought it was well worth it.

“I think it’s real important that we instill integrity in all of our students and teach them to be active members of the community striving to achieve and live by the Capstone Creed,” Lambert said.

Benjamin Sleight, a sophomore majoring in economics, said Fuller was able to connect to the students in attendance.

“Most judges are accused of being out of touch with the new generation that’s rising into the workplace,” Sleight said. “Sure he wasn’t familiar with all the twitter terms, but he seemed to be very in tune what was needed in an integrity-based speech to a student body.”

Fuller graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in chemical engineering in 1982 and from The University of Alabama School of Law in 1985.

Fuller said he got into engineering never intending to pursue it as a career but rather because he did well in math, science and chemistry and thought that engineering was a great foundation for future endeavors. Despite his major choice, Fuller said that he always wanted to be a federal judge.

After law school, Fuller worked at private practice for 11 years and was then appointed as a district attorney and served for five years. He was appointed to be a United State District Court judge for the Middle District of Alabama by President George W. Bush and began work in 2002.

Fuller denied in a post-speech interview that he had any connection to the Bush White House when he was appointed.

“I was involved in the Republican party before I was appointed but, no, I’ve never had any dealings with President Bush,” he said.

Fuller also denied the widely spread assertion that Karl Rove or others in the Bush administration somehow influenced the trial.

“No, I was never contacted by anybody,” Fuller said. “I’ve never met Karl Rove, never spoken to Karl Rove.”

The trial took a personal toll on the judge and his family. Fuller said his daughter, then a UA student, was threatened and U.S. Marshals needed to be called to check on her a few times.

Despite how much the trial affected him personally, Fuller said he was fair and unbiased during the case.

“I thought and I believe that I called that case as fairly as I have any other case,” Fuller said. “I couldn’t live with myself if I thought that I had railroaded somebody, the government or an individual defendant.”