War of words between attorneys in suspended CEO corruption - CBS46 News

War of words between attorneys in suspended DeKalb CEO corruption case

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Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis is in court for the final motion hearings before his trial begins.

One of the things his defense team is trying to do is persuade the judge to disqualify District Attorney Robert James from prosecuting Ellis.

"In this particular case, the district attorney has personal interest in the outcome. The CEO of the county approves his budget," said Dwight Thomas.

Thomas is one of Ellis' attorneys. He argued that the DeKalb District Attorney Robert James' office illegally obtained a video recording of Ellis' which allegedly shows Ellis threatening a vendor to donate to his campaign or lose county business.

Prosecutor Cynthia Hill told the judge there is only one video. The defense believes another one exists on James' computer.

"The defense has filed a motion asking for an order by this court to direct a DeKalb County Sheriff to seize Robert James' computer and recording devices used by a confidential informant during a criminal investigation," said Hill.

Ellis' attorneys want James' computer examined by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"What we are talking about is a tax payer funded computer inside a tax payer funded building," said Thomas.

As the hearing progressed Monday, tempers flared. Prosecutor Lee Grant jumped up and fired back at Ellis' attorney Craig Gillen when Gillen made a comment about her.

"I'm going to object to any pain I'm feeling," said Grant.

Grant and Gillen argued back and forth until DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson stopped them.

"I'm about to lose my patience with the both of you," said Johnson.

Grant and Gillen argued about former DeKalb County prosecutor Don Geary, who allege his former boss, Robert James, illegally obtained video of Ellis allegedly shaking down a vendor.

"It's a sad day when a member of the da's office gets up and makes a claims about a fellow prosecutor," stated Gillen.

"I am not going to sit her and take this. He [Geary] told nothing but lies about this office and I'm not going to take it," said Grant.

Ellis' trial is set to begin June 2.

Stay with CBS46 for the latest developments.

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