Jury picked in trial of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis

A jury was seated Friday in the trial of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, who is fighting charges that he strong-armed county contractors for campaign donations.

The 12 members of the jury and four alternates are expected to hear weeks of testimony before deciding whether Ellis is guilty or not. Ellis faces 13 criminal charges, including bribery, theft and extortion.

The jury includes 12 black women, two black men and two white women. Jury selection lasted a week.

Ellis is accused of mixing his job as the county’s elected leader with political campaigning by threatening companies that didn’t contribute to his 2012 re-election. An indictment alleges Burrell ordered county employees not to do business with contractors who didn’t donate to him.

Ellis has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.

Opening statements in the case are planned to begin Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson told jurors to expect the trial to last between four and six weeks.

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