Judge rejects delay of retrial for DeKalb CEO Ellis

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Court Johnson has scheduled a June 1 retrial for DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Court Johnson has scheduled a June 1 retrial for DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. (BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM)

The judge overseeing the case against DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis has denied a request from his attorneys to delay his retrial.

Judge Courtney Johnson ruled Monday that Ellis’ retrial should be held June 1 as scheduled.

Prosecutors have accused Ellis of shaking down county contractors for campaign contributions during his 2012 re-election bid. Ellis has pleaded not guilty to 13 crimes, including extortion, bribery and perjury.

A jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on any of the counts against Ellis in October, resulting in a mistrial.

Johnson last month scheduled the retrial for Ellis, who has been suspended from office since July 2013.

Two of Ellis’ attorneys, Dwight Thomas and Craig Gillen, had requested that the start of the retrial be moved to September.

The motion for a continuance said that Thomas needs cataract surgery in June, is organizing an out-of-state trip for July that has non-refundable travel commitments, and plans to attend his niece’s doctoral graduation in Miami in June. The motion also said that transcripts from Ellis’ six-week trial weren’t yet available.

But Johnson wrote that Thomas’ request for a leave of absence was filed Dec. 15, several days after her Dec. 9 order scheduling the retrial.

While Ellis’ case is pending, he has continued to collect his government salary, as required by Georgia law for suspended officials. Ellis is paid a yearly salary of more than $153,000, plus more than $45,000 in benefits and a $3,600 supplement.


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