DeKalb official refuses to answer 343 questions for fear of self-incrimination

by: Jodie Fleischer Updated:


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has obtained exclusive video of DeKalb County Purchasing and Contracting Director Kelvin Walton under oath, implying he broke the law.
Walton invoked his rights under the Fifth Amendment 343 times, refusing to answer questions about whether he accepted bribes and kickbacks in his official capacity.
The deposition was part of a pending civil case, in which a vendor alleges DeKalb County owes him $800,000 for work he did clearing land. The vendor alleges Walton asked him to pay a bribe in order to receive payment for his work.
The vendor's attorney, Bob Wilson, asked Walton, "You were trying to shake him down, where you not?"
"I would like to invoke my rights of the Fifth Amendment," Walton said. 
Other questions included:
Wilson: "You lied to the grand jury while under oath?"
Walton: "I would like to invoke my rights of the Fifth Amendment."
Wilson: "You knew when you did it that you were violating county policy, did you not?"
Walton: "I would like to invoke my rights of the Fifth Amendment."
Wilson: "Do you know how many contractors you have sought to get kickbacks from since you've been with the county?"
Walton: "I would like to revoke [sic] my rights of the Fifth Amendment."
When a witness in a civil case invokes the Fifth Amendment, it can be used against them.
"If you take the Fifth Amendment, it is implied that you did in fact ask for that bribe, that you tried to give a bribe.That's the way the law works," said Wilson, "There's no reason for you not to answer the question unless it's going to impugn your position."
Prosecutors have named Walton an unindicted co-conspirator in the criminal case against suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis. Walton has also failed multiple polygraph examinations, including questions about acceptance of bribes and kickbacks.
Wilson, who is also a DeKalb County taxpayer and former district attorney, questioned why Walton still has his $153,000 a year job.
"I would rather spend money defending the honor of this county, then to be paying someone who cannot answer that question," Wilson told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer, "You fire people when they do that."
Fleischer asked Interim CEO Lee May why Walton is still in charge of the county's contracts and purchases.
"Again we are investigating now, we're in the midst of the investigation," May said, confirming that he was made aware of Walton's answers in the deposition. May says he wants more evidence before making a decision about Walton's future with the county, and admitted that may not happen until the judicial process has run its course.
During the deposition, Walton's attorney indicated Walton would be willing to answer the questions once the criminal case against Ellis has concluded.

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