Burrell Ellis takes the stand in his trial - CBS46 News

Burrell Ellis takes the stand in his trial

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Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis testified in his own trial and the fight for his political future Friday.

Ellis was indicted in June 2013, accused of extorting campaign contributions from county vendors.

In October 2014, a mistrial was declared after a jury couldn't reach a verdict on any of the 13 counts against him. A jury was chosen for his second trial earlier this month.

Before the judge and jurors, Ellis was questioned by his very own attorney.

"Why did you ask 'how much have you paid them' today?" asked Craig Gillen, Ellis' attorney.

"I currently wanted to know if they were doing work for the county," said Ellis.

Ellis told jurors he called National Property Institute-also known as NPI, owners Doctor Greg Shealey, and his wife Trina to, ask for $2,500 but insisted he never threatened to end their contract with the county.

He said the problems started from them not returning his phone calls.

"He [Ellis] said several times, 'You hung up on me, I called you...he said he called her, I think approximately 17 times,'" said Dr. Shealey on the third day of the re-trial.

"So he said 17 times? What did he say?" asked the prosecutor.

"[Ellis said] 'I don't know if I should be doing business with you,'" responded Shealey.

Friday Ellis said that was never the case. He just wanted a returned phone call.

However, the prosecution argued Ellis was aggressive and suggested there were consequences for not contributing. Dr. Shealey said earlier in the trial he gave to the campaign but felt like someone was twisting his arm and stepping on his neck to do so.

"A million dollars is a big contract and when I see a CEO of the county calls, doesn't get a returned call and finally does reach them and gets hung up on, I couldn't believe someone would be that incredibly rude," Ellis said.

Trial will pick back up Monday morning where Ellis could face questions from prosecutors on the stand.

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