The state Court of Appeals has dismissed prosecutors’ bid to stop the DeKalb County CEO and his former campaign manager from getting an advance copy of a report on possible corruption in county contracts.
The dismissal was on procedural grounds, leaving open the question whether Burrell Ellis and Kevin Ross can review the report, and propose redactions, before it is published.
The District Attorney’s office still argues no. Hours after the Thursday’s ruling, Robert James’ office appealed by asking the appeals court to reconsider and petitioning to the state Supreme Court, spokesman Erik Burton said.
Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott, meanwhile, could still act on his earlier order that granted Ellis and Ross early access to the report.
They had asked for the advance look to see if they are named after searches at their homes and offices in January. The DA’s office said those raids were in search of evidence of crimes such as bid-rigging.
“The ball is back in Judge Scott’s court, and he can go forward with his orders as he deems appropriate,” said Steve Sadow, a criminal defense attorney not connected to the case.
Scott is unlikely to take any action during the appeal window. An attorney in his office said Thursday that the judge had not made any decisions about his next steps.
Another complicating factor: the grand jury foreman’s lawsuit against Scott.
Albert Trujillo sued the judge last month, demanding he make the report public and asking for an injunction to halt any advance copies.
That case remains before Superior Court Judge Daniel Coursey, who has no hearings in the case on his calendar.
Attorneys for Ellis and Ross would not say whether they will again petition for the chance to read and redact the report before it is published.
“Obviously, we can say we are pleased with the order,” said Craig Gillen, the former federal prosecutor representing Ellis, who declined further comment.
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