Attorneys for suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis filed motions Jan. 9 requesting that the District Attorney’s Office dismiss the indictment against him and the case be referred to the Georgia Attorney General’s Office.
The 22-page document outlines new information described as “profoundly disturbing” actions by District Attorney Robert James “on an unrestrained witch hunt” to remove Ellis from office.
The document accuses prosecutors of using Kelvin Walton, the county’s purchasing director, to secretly videotape Ellis with a “super spy” wristwatch and spy writing pen.
“District Attorney James directed that Walton wear his super spy video watch recorder to meetings with CEO Ellis in non-public areas and unlawfully captured video images of CEO Ellis without CEO Ellis’ knowledge or consent and without a court order,” the motion says.
Lee May, who was on the DeKalb Board of Commissioners at the time, is accused of winning approval from the board for $150,000 from the county’s operating budget to buy the spy ware the DA used in its investigation.
May could not be reached for comment about the new motion.
Erik Burton, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said James will not comment on the pending court case.
Ellis’ attorneys, Craig A. Gillen and Dwight Thomas, also declined to comment, other than to say they are preparing for DeKalb Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson to hear several motions, including the new one, on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24.
Ellis was indicted last June on 14 felonies including extortion, conspiracy and theft for using county workers during work hours to solicit campaign contributions. Ellis allegedly threatened to withhold contracts from county vendors who did not donate to his political campaign.
Ellis’ attorneys have said the DA did the same thing. They accused James and May of using county workers to solicit contributions from a list of county vendors to host a senior ball on June 8, 2013. James and Lee jointly hosted the event at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel. The ball was funded with $25,500 in contributions from the county’s list of vendors.
Pictured above L-R: Burrell Ellis, Robert James and Lee May