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Trial Date Delayed for Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burell Ellis

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis will go to trial in September on charges he pressured contractors for campaign donations. A judge ruled this week that secret recordings of Ellis can be used against him.

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is under indictment. File|Patch
Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is under indictment. File|Patch

The defense team for suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis lost another round of arguments in court this week, but did succeed in pushing back his trial date from June to Sept. 8.

Ellis faces 14 felony charges, ranging from bribery to theft, which he has consistently denied.

In a ruling handed down Thursday, a judge sided with prosecutors on two arguments, reports WSB TV. The judge decided to allow secret audio and video recordings of Ellis to be used against him and the judge will not throw out testimony Ellis made during a special grand jury investigation. Prosecutors say Ellis perjured himself in that testimony. 

Last month Ellis’ team lost a battle when a judge ruled that District Attorney Robert James will not be disqualified and the case will not be dismissed.

Attorneys for Ellis, who is battling corruption charges, had unsuccessfully argued that prosecutors have not shared all evidence and urged that prosecutors should be removed from the case.

Ellis was indicted last summer by a DeKalb grand jury on charges he illegally pressured contractors into giving him campaign contributions. He faces 14 felony charges that accuse him of shaking down county vendors for campaign donations and punishing those who did not give, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ellis has denied the charges.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson rejected efforts by Ellis’ attorneys made in a bid to toss evidence seized from search warrants from his home and office and from Ellis’ testimony before a special grand jury.

Defense attorneys said last month that while only one video recording of Ellis has been turned over in the case, testimony from various prosecutors has disagreed, and one referred to Ellis wearing different clothes than shown in the video. This prompted Ellis’ lawyers to argue there must be more videos that have gone undisclosed.

Last month, an attempt by Ellis’ attorneys to revisit whether he was “lured” to the special grand jury looking into corruption in county contracts by not being told of the criminal probe against him was thwarted.

Charlie Vosburgh April 19, 2014 at 01:45 PM
Cobb and DeKalb counties are virtually the same size in population. Yet the county government of DeKalb has over 2000 more employees than Cobb. The governor FIRED the entire school board for their ineptness. Now we have yet ANOTHER (alleged) crook running our county government. Is it any wonder why our property taxes are almost double that of Cobb for similar properties?? Anybody have a better explanation I'd LOVE to hear it!

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