Ellis' case now returns to DeKalb's courts, where prosecutors will have to decide whether to seek a retrial. Ellis has already gone to court twice after his initial case ended in a mistrial when jurors couldn't reach unanimous verdicts on any of the counts against him.
Ellis was convicted for trying to shake down Power and Energy Services for a $2,500 campaign contribution and threatening to end its $250,000 contract with the county. Ellis was also found guilty on three perjury counts for lying under oath about his role in awarding county contracts.
The Supreme Court found two significant violations of Ellis’ rights to a fair trial.
Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson shouldn’t have prevented Ellis’ defense team from calling county contractors who didn’t feel they were threatened after declining to donate to his campaign, the high court said. Also, a special purpose grand juror shouldn’t have been allowed to testify about his opinion about the relevance of Ellis’ statements under oath that led to the perjury verdict.
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