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Attorneys for Suspended DeKalb County CEO Lose Court Arguments

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is in court fighting charges he pressured contractors for campaign donations.

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 arguments in a court hearing Tuesday, 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, have 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.

But Johnson showed similar impatience with prosecutors, telling both sides to “move on” at least six times after becoming frustrated with the heated arguments. 

Defense attorneys said Monday 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.

They want the court to order the district attorney’s office to turn over his computer to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for review, the newspaper reports.

On Tuesday, the newspaper said 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.

Johnson said she will rule on most outstanding issues by week’s end. Ellis is slated to head to trial on June 2.

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