• Ellis attorneys argue embattled CEO is a peace officer

    By: Erica Byfield


    During the second day of a hearing involving indicted DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis, attorneys argued he is peace officer.
    Prosecutors disagree.
    "The defendant is a peace officer?  I will go through why that is ridiculous," said Assistant DeKalb District Attorney Chris Timmons.
    A grand jury indicted Ellis on charges he tried to shake down county vendors for campaign contributions.
    Under Georgia law, peace officers, like police and deputies, have a right to testify before a grand jury considering criminal action against them.
    Ellis was not given that opportunity.
    Ellis' attorneys believe if they can convince the judge he is a "peace officer" they can get the indictment thrown out.
    Legal expert Jessica Gabel says that argument is creative and will not be easy to prove.
    "Legally, I think it's probably a stretch.  It would be the same as saying Barack Obama, as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, is now subject to a military court tribunal. So probably not their best argument, but they're going to make it anyway," Gabel said.
    During the second day of the motions hearing, a witness for the state disagreed with several statements the defense's star witness made the day before. 
    "There was one video," said Clay Nix.
    Nix used to work for the DA's office as an investigator. He was responding to a question from the state about how many video recordings the investigators have of the defendant.
    Previously, Don Geary told the court the DA told him there were a few videos.
    When asked if Nix would believe Geary under oath he paused before he replied.
    "I don't know," Nix said.
    Technically there are two indictments against Ellis pending.  The judge told both parties one must be thrown out within five days.

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