DeKalb DA forced to testify in Burrell Ellis case

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - DeKalb County's suspended CEO Burrell Ellis’ defense team scored a huge win on Thursday.
 
During a heated motions hearing, a judge ruled against the state's request to quash a subpoena for the district attorney.
 
DA Robert James took the stand around mid-morning.
 
A legal expert told Channel 2 Action News traditionally witnesses cannot also serve as attorneys.
 
Ellis sat quietly as his attorney Craig Gillen grilled James.
 
Gillen asked James if he broke the law when his office directed an informant to secretly record Ellis.

James said he had not.
 
Ellis is accused of shaking down county vendors for campaign donations.
 
Late last week a criminal grand jury handed down a superseding indictment against Ellis.  He is currently facing several felonies.
 
Ellis has maintained his innocence.
 
While on the stand James dropped a bombshell, telling the court what led his office to investigate Ellis.
 
"When I started hearing audio evidence of the CEO shaking down people,there were audio tapes of him shaking down people and vendors telling that he was shaking them down," James said.
 
Later in the day, two former DA office employees testified on behalf of the defense.
 
Don Geary was the first to take the stand.  Geary used to be the DeKalb County Chief Assistant District Attorney. 
"Why did you leave?" Gillen asked.
 
"Because, I didn't want to get arrested," Geary responded after a lengthy pause.
 
Geary told the court he thought James broke the law.
 
The other former employee who spoke was John Melvin.  He spoke in general about his time in the DA's office as the deputy chief assistant district attorney.
 
The hearing resumes Friday morning.



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