• Appeal to not give defense advance report in DeKalb corruption investigation denied

    By: Jodie Fleischer


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County judge could be poised to release an advance copy of a grand jury report to the defense team for county CEO Burrell Ellis, but prosecutors are fighting to stop him.
    The special purpose grand jury spent a year investigating public corruption, and gave Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott their 81-page report in January. He's yet to officially dismiss the jurors or make their report public.
    Earlier this year, Scott ruled that Ellis and his former campaign manager, Kevin Ross, could get an advance copy of the report, to see if the grand jury went outside of its assigned scope. If so, they plan to argue that portions of the report should be deleted before its release to the public.
    The grand jurors and prosecutors want the report released to the public in its entirety and have filed appeals to try to stop the early release to Ellis’ defense team.
    Thursday, Georgia's Court of Appeals dismissed the case, saying prosecutors did not follow proper procedure when filing their paperwork.
    Prosecutors said they plan to file a motion for reconsideration and a notice of intent to take the case to the Georgia Supreme Court, which should prevent Scott from immediately releasing the report.
    A secretary for Scott declined to comment when asked whether the judge plans to release the report to the defense, or wait on those other proceedings.
    Last month, the grand jurors also filed a new case against Scott, in front of one of his colleagues, Judge Daniel Coursey.
    Coursey has indicated he would rule on the grand jury's insistence that Scott release them and make their report public.
    The case pending in front of Coursey would also give prosecutors another avenue to get to the Georgia's Supreme Court, if it doesn't go their way.
    Foreman Albert Trujillo said the 23 members of the grand jury will be disappointed if the public doesn't get to see the whole report.
    "There was not a single person there who didn't put their heart and soul and a lot of effort into it," said Trujillo. He declined to discuss the report's contents.
    The special purpose grand jury was originally convened to investigate allegations of corruption in the county's watershed department, but expanded to include other contracts and public officials.
    In January, district attorney's investigators executed search warrants at the homes and offices of Ellis and Ross. Those warrants were part of a simultaneous criminal investigation, which is still ongoing.    

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