Recorded phone conversation played in Burrell Ellis trial - CBS46 News

Recorded phone conversation played in Burrell Ellis trial

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On the second day of testimony in the Burrell Ellis trial, jurors heard a secretly recorded phone conversation that suspended DeKalb CEO had with a contractor in 2012.

Ellis is facing charges that include bribery, extortion and perjury. He is accused of pressuring county contractors to contribute to his political campaign or risk losing county work.

The owners of Power and Energy Services, a contractor that maintained county generators, took the stand on Wednesday.

"I wanted to see if Power and Energy Services could help us by making a contribution at the maximum level of $2,500," Ellis is heard saying during the conversation with Brandon Cummings, the company's co-owner.

The phone call took place in September of 2012. Testimony indicated Ellis had tried to contact Cummings several times in the months before but never reached him.

"If I can't get a follow up call, then, you know, why is my company doing business? Why are we doing business with this company?" Ellis told Cummings during the September call.

Cummings told Ellis his company does not make donations. Ellis is then heard telling Cummings he had already told the county's purchasing director to take action against the company.

"I said, if they're not interested in our services, then we're not interested in theirs, and just go ahead and cut the contract," Ellis informed Cummings during the phone call.

Prosecutors said the tape supports their argument that Ellis strong-armed contractors for donations in exchange for county work.

Cummings testified he felt "threatened" and characterized the call as "very uncomfortable."

Ellis' attorneys tried to portray the conversation in a different light. They pointed out that Ellis never demanded a contribution but only asked "if" Cummings could make a contribution.

Prosecutors told the court there are more than 1,500 recordings of Ellis' conversations with various people.

Testimony resumes on Thursday.

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