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DECATUR, GA -- A former top assistant to DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James says investigators may have broken the law gathering evidence against CEO Burrell Ellis.

Don Geary, former chief assistant district attorney to James, said James showed him a secretly-recorded video, showing Ellis in his office on the phone, raising campaign money. Ellis is accused of shaking down DeKalb County vendors for campaign cash, charges denied by James.

Geary testified that he told James "that it could be the commission of two separate felonies" because the video was recorded in Ellis's office without his knowledge.

Geary says James took him off the corruption case shortly afterward. Ellis quit in December 2012 "Because I didn't want to get arrested," he testified.

James denied that he'd ever had a meeting with Geary in which Geary issued such a warning. James said he reduced Geary's responsibilities in the DA's office because he'd lost confidence in him.

Geary is best-known for his pointed questioning of Andrea Sneiderman during the Hemy Neuman murder trial. Geary now works for then Cobb Co. district attorney's office.

Ellis's attorney says James prosecuted the case with political goals, backed by current interim CEO Lee May. May is expected to testify Friday.

Assistant District Attorney Anna Cross asked James if he'd ever prosecuted anybody because of personal or political reasons. James responded "No. And if I knew about it, they wouldn't be working with me."

Under questioning from Cross, Geary said he never took his concerns about the illegal activity to the GBI or the US Attorney's office for investigation.

RELATED STORIES

* Ellis due back in court Friday
* New indictments for DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis
* DeKalb grand jury critical of government higher-ups
* DeKalb Commission speaks out on grand jury report

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