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Alabama federal judge charged with wife-beating to seek treatment

(Reuters) - An Alabama federal district court judge charged with beating his wife has sought counseling and plans to enter a residential treatment program in the coming days, his attorney said Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, 55, was arrested earlier this month and charged with a misdemeanor count of battery after his wife called police from an Atlanta hotel room to say he had hit her.

"He is very embarrassed," said Barry Ragsdale, an attorney representing Fuller. "He takes the issues involved with his family very seriously."

Fuller was stripped of his docket by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the wake of the Aug. 10 incident and is not receiving new cases, though he is still drawing his annual salary of roughly $200,000, Ragsdale said.

A 2002 appointee of former President George W. Bush, Fuller faces both a criminal case in Atlanta and an administrative complaint filed by the acting chief judge of the 11th Circuit, to which he has three weeks to respond.

Federal judges serve lifetime appointments and can only be removed through impeachment, though the 11th Circuit could reprimand Fuller or even ask him to resign, said Ragsdale, who is representing the judge on the administrative complaint.

Fuller is next due in state court in Atlanta on Sept. 5.

Ragsdale declined to specify what type of treatment facility Fuller plans to enter.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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