DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis tells employees he's done nothing wrong

6:57 PM, Jun 24, 2013   |    comments
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DECATUR, Ga. -- Embattled DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis addressed a room packed with county employees, urging them to keep their focus as he faces a long list of criminal charges.

"First, foremost, I have done nothing wrong," said Ellis.

MORE | DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis bonds out after indictment

Ellis was indicted last week on 15 criminal charges, including allegations that he attempted to extort campaign contributions from businesses that do work for the DeKalb County.

RELATED | Read the indictment here

"There are no allegations whatsoever that Mr. Ellis took a single dollar or a single dime personally that was in any way wrong," said Craig Gillen, one of Ellis' lawyers.

Ellis has compiled a legal team that includes Gillen, former DeKalb District Attorney J. Tom Morgan, and former assistant D.A. John Petry.

RELATED | Ellis indictment may further prod DeKalb cityhood efforts

After addressing employees, Ellis spoke to the media but would not answer questions. His attorneys spoke without taking questions as well.

Ellis indicated he had no intentions of leaving the CEO position.

"I was called and elected to do this job, and I have every intention to work hard each and every day," said Ellis.

Ellis has been under a cloud of suspicion since investigators raided the CEO's home and office in January.

His lawyers insist that it is legal for Ellis and other elected officials to accept campaign contributions from individuals or business that do work for Dekalb County.

"Presidents of the United States request and obtain campaign contributions with folks who do business with the U.S. government," said Gillen.

The indictment claims Ellis did much more.

Prosecutors claim Ellis threatened to contact the boss of an employee of CIBER, Inc., that she provided "poor customer service" and that would be the reason the company would not receive any additional work for Dekalb County. The indictment contends the threat was an effort to cause CIBER and its employee to contribute to the Ellis campaign.

"We will vigorously defend each and every one of these counts, and we look forward to doing so," said Morgan.

Albert Trujillo was part of a special investigative grand jury that spent a year looking into allegations of corruption in Dekalb County. Trujillo said he can't discuss specifics of the grand jury's work, he did say testimony led them to the office of Burell Ellis.

"I don't want to categorize him as being guilty or innocent," said Trukillo. "We followed what people said, and what people testified, and in most cases we were utterly surprised by their testimony."

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