Jurors in Burrell Ellis trial asked to leave early - CBS46 News

Jurors in Burrell Ellis trial asked to leave early; Judge says no

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Jurors in the Burrell Ellis corruption trial failed to reach a verdict Friday on the ninth day of deliberations and were sent home for the weekend.

The suspended DeKalb County CEO is accused of shaking down vendors for campaign contributions or risk losing county contracts.

Judge Courtney Johnson appeared somewhat frustrated after jurors sent her a note and asked if they could leave an hour early.

"We have a note asking to leave today at 4 o'clock. My inclination is that we have been more than accommodating this week in allowing them to leave early and come in later. I don't think one hour is going to make that much difference so I think they should stay through 5 and keep working."

District Attorney Robert James asked if the jury gave a reason for the jury's request to end deliberations at 4 p.m.

"Just curious, did they say why they wanted to leave early?" asked James.

"Nope," responded the judge. "It's Friday and it's pretty outside."

On Thursday, jurors sent Johnson a note that read: "Judge Johnson, we have continued our deliberations as requested. We were able to make some progress, but unfortunately our best efforts to achieve a unanimous agreement on all 13 counts were unsuccessful."

The jury sent a similar note to the judge on Wednesday that said they cannot agree on the charges against Ellis. Bribery and extortion are among the counts he faces.

District Attorney Robert James called the wording of the jury's notes "vague." He wanted the judge to find out if the jury was deadlocked on some of the charges or all of them.

"I guess when they say they've made some progress, I'd like to know does progress mean?" James asked the judge. "Does progress mean that we're just doing better, but we haven't been able to reach it on any counts?"

Johnson said at some point, she would consider asking the jury how many counts they disagree on.

Jurors resume deliberations Monday morning.

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