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Judge rejects delay of retrial for DeKalb CEO Ellis

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.

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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.

About the Author

Mark Niesse covers elections, the Georgia General Assembly and state government.

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