Ellis seeks end of DA’s ‘witch hunt’

A grand jury handed down a 15-count indictment against DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis June 18.


DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James is on “an unrestrained witch hunt” in the case against suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, according to a motion filed by Ellis’ attorneys Jan. 9.

Ellis’ attorneys filed motions “to disqualify the District Attorney’s Office” and to dismiss the case they say is “based upon selective prosecution.”

“It is clear that DeKalb County is being dominated by a prosecutor on an unrestrained witch hunt, the goal of which has been Mr. Ellis’ permanent removal from office, and who, in his zeal to destroy CEO Ellis, has committed criminal acts,” the motion states.

Ellis was suspended June 2013 by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal after a 15-count indictment, including 14 felonies, was handed down by a grand jury.

The indictment includes four counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion; three counts of theft by taking; two counts of criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings; three counts of coercion of other employees to give anything of value for political purposes; two counts of conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition; and conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision.

The indictment came nearly six months after Ellis’ home and office were searched by investigators from the DA’s Office as part of a special grand jury investigation into possible corruption at the county’s watershed department.

According to the indictment, Ellis is accused of attempting to obtain campaign contributions from companies by threatening to prevent those companies from receiving business from the county.

If the case is not dismissed, Ellis’ attorneys want the case referred to the Georgia Attorney General’s Office for appointment of a special prosecutor. The motion also requests the suppression of “any and all evidence obtained by the DA’s Office and the referral of the allegations to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the State Bar of Georgia.”

The motion states that Ellis and his attorneys “have both discovered and witnessed numerous, gross abuses of power and individual rights” by James and the DA’s Office.

Ellis’ legal team has “learned of profoundly disturbing, willful, unjust and illegal acts” by James and his office “with the complicity of” interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, the motion states.

The motion alleges that James “wanted to increase his reputation and political prospects by bringing down CEO Ellis, and wanted to assist his friend and political ally, DeKalb County Commission Chairman Lee N. May, in the process.”

“District Attorney James had it in for CEO Ellis even before District Attorney James took office,” the motion states, adding that the “enormous resources and focus…on investigating CEO Ellis caused the District Attorney’s  Office to fail to investigate or prosecute, and to dismiss, many other serious criminal cases, including violent crimes and even a murder case.”

James also used May, his “inside man” on the Board of Commissioners, to acquire county funds to purchase $150,000 in “wiretap and bugging equipment to further his investigation of CEO Ellis,” the motion states.

Edmond Richardson, May’s senior advisor, said, “The allegations against Interim CEO Lee May are outlandish and wrong. Lee May has faithfully served the people of District 5 as a Commissioner and the people of DeKalb County as Interim CEO.

May “is in no way connected to this ongoing criminal case and it is shameful his good character is being unfairly and inaccurately represented in this court motion,” Richardson said.

Ellis’ attorneys also claim that James told DeKalb County Department of Purchasing and Contracting Director Kelvin Walton that he could “work his way out” of possible criminal charges by serving as a confidential informant against Ellis.

According to the motion, James, with funds obtained with the assistance of May, purchased a “super spy video watch recorder” and a pen with a recorder to allow Walton to clandestinely record Ellis.

“James directed that Walton wear his super spy video watch recorder to meetings with CEO Ellis in nonpublic areas and unlawfully captured video images of CEO Ellis without CEO Ellis’ knowledge or consent and without a court order,” the motion states.

“District Attorney James’ and the District Attorney’s Office’s illegal recordings and interception of communications, or aiding and abetting thereof, were carried out without any authorization from the court,” the motion states.

The motion states that James and his office have engaged in “abuses of power and violations of the law,” including James’ “hijacking of the Special Purpose Grand Jury’s investigation in violation of its lawfully authorized scope by the Court,” his “willful false representations to CEO Ellis’ legal counsel regarding whether CEO Ellis was the target of the special purpose grand jury’s investigation, the District Attorney’s Office’s luring of CEO Ellis away from his home and office in order to execute search warrants at those locations, and the District Attorney’s Office’s numerous false and misleading representations and omissions in its applications for warrants to search CEO Ellis’ home and office.”

“The result has been a crusade against Mr. Ellis on absurd charges of a few allegedly pressuring telephone calls and alleged theft of county time and services,” the motion states.

“The District Attorney’s and his office’s personally and politically motivated inquisition and violations of the law and individual rights, which has oppressed numerous county employees and witnesses in its abuse and misuse of a special purpose grand jury, must finally be brought to heel,” the motion states.

James and May “have schemed and acted for their own political aggrandizement at the expense of the defendant’s career, reputation and liberty and at the expense of the democratic process and democratic choice of DeKalb County citizens,” the motion states.

Ellis attorney Dwight Thomas said he expects the motions to be heard in court on Jan. 23-24.

Burrell Ellis motion


2 thoughts on “Ellis seeks end of DA’s ‘witch hunt’

  • January 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Ole Snoop would like to take this time and thank our new chief of police here in deKalb county for turning a blind eye to all the illegal gambling, drugs and prositution that plagues east and south dekalb. Some things just never change, I guess he don’t get over this way much?

    Ole Snoop remembers a few years back when the police busted 8 out of 10 convenience stores in dekalb for selling crap to our children. With these remarkable results our dekalb pd ain’t done it again since then. Ole Snoop thought it was just a way for Ole Burail our ceo to get more contributions from these store owners ? Well they are back to selling this crap to our children again because special ops to the dekalb pd is handing out tickets on I-20 n I-285 and that don’t make our neighborhoods safe.

    If the dekalb police dept is so hooked-up with these gamblers then Intrim CEO Lee May need to ask The Sheriff’s Dept to take over these responsibilities while Thomas Brown is there, I don’t think he’s so ” on the take ” as the pd is.

  • January 13, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    James withheld a video and audio tape that showed my innocence in a case….he flat out committed perjury in front of the Grand Jury….thank God the judge dismissed the case. This guy is a criminal. I’m so glad someone is standing up to him.


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