Day 2 of deliberations in Burrell Ellis trial wraps up - CBS46 News

Day 2 of deliberations in Burrell Ellis trial wraps up

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

The jury in the Burrell Ellis corruption trial will return Wednesday to begin a third day of deliberations.

The suspended DeKalb County CEO is accused of pressuring contractors to donate to his campaign or lose county work.

In addition, the county's purchasing director, Kelvin Walton, resigned. Walton secretly recorded Ellis' conversations for the district attorney as part of the state's investigation into the CEO's dealings.

Walton turned state witness after confronted by the DA that he lied to a special grand jury when he testified he did not receive free work from county contractors.

"I will always be appreciative of the elected officials, staff, business leaders and community members who have been supportive of me and my position," wrote Walton in his resignation letter. "I wish you and the Board of Commissioners the best as you move into the future."

In a statement, interim CEO Lee May said that Ellis' assistant, Nina Hall, has also been relieved of her duties.   

Jurors asked the judge Tuesday if they could leave early and return in the morning. They want to again hear a secretly recorded conversation between Walton and Ellis.

In that conversation played previously in court, Ellis is heard saying he wanted to cut off work for a contractor who refused to make a campaign contribution. 

The CEO faces 13 charges, including bribery and extortion.

The defense says Ellis sought donations legally.

"The bottom, simple truth, is there is not a single thing wrong in asking for money," said defense attorney Craig Gillen.

"Burrell Ellis was acting in the best interests of Burrell Ellis, period. That ain't what we hired him to do. He's a servant not a king," said DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James.

If convicted, Ellis faces up to 20 years in prison.

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