DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Former DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer W. Burrell Ellis, Jr. spoke out a day after the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously reversed the attempted extortion and perjury convictions against him. The charges stem from what prosecutors described as an attempted “shake down” of a county contractor for campaign contributions.
During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Ellis thanked God, friends, family and community for standing by him through his trials. His lawyers said they are ready to fight the charges again in a DeKalb County courtroom if needed.
In Wednesday’s opinion, Justice Harold Melton writes for the Court that while the evidence was sufficient to convict Ellis, due to technical errors, the criminal convictions against Ellis, who has already served his time in prison and been released, must be reversed. It will be up to the District attorney whether to retry him.
Ellis was indicted in 2013 for allegedly extorting campaign contributions from business owners who had contracts with the county and has always denied canceled contracts of vendors who refused to make a donation to his 2012 bid for re-election. Ellis was on trial for the second time.
The first trial ended in a mistrial in October 2014 when an all-female jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict after nearly two weeks of deliberations.