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Closing arguments expected in Burrell Ellis trial


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Closing arguments are expected Wednesday in the second corruption trial of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

The defense ended its presentation Tuesday with several friends and colleagues of Ellis saying he's trustworthy and they would believe him under oath.

But the most intense part of the trial thus far was when District Attorney Robert James peppered the CEO with questions about his past statements.

In his fourth day on the witness stand, Ellis seemed to be splitting hairs about what he said under oath in his first trial, what he was recorded saying on audio tapes and what he actually meant.

Prosecutors begin cross-examination of Burrell Ellis


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Prosecutors began cross examining suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis in his corruption re-trial on Monday.

Ellis is accused of strong-arming county vendors to donate to his 2012 re-election campaign, and threatening to kill their county contracts if they didn't. A jury failed to reach a verdict after 11 days of deliberations last fall.

In cross-examination on Monday, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James attempted to catch Ellis on inconsistencies between what he said under oath in his first trial and in the current one.

James played back secretly recorded phone calls and conversations with a staffer where Ellis talked about certain vendors and their willingness or unwillingness to give campaign donations. Click the video above to hear testimony.

Proceedings will continue on Tuesday.

Charleston tragedy sparks memories of local church shooting


ATLANTA -- The shooting in Charleston, S.C. has stirred memories at a local church that has also been impacted by a deadly shooting.

In 2012, Greg McDowell was killed while leading a worship service at World Changers International Church.

Vic Bolton expected to walk into a quiet sanctuary with heads bowed. Instead he found ambulances, police and a massive hunt for the gunman.

Burrell Ellis takes stand in corruption trial


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis took the stand in his own defense Thursday.

Ellis is charged with perjury, bribery and theft by extortion. He's on trial for the second time after a first jury failed to reach a verdict.

The defense began to make its case Thursday morning a day after the prosecution rested. Attorneys began by calling character witnesses, including Ellis' wife, to say that the suspected CEO is trustworthy.

Ellis then took the stand to give his version of what he said to county vendors when he called them for campaign contributions in 2012. Ellis' recollections of the conversations were much different than what jurors heard earlier in the trial. He talked of one vendor, Joanne Wise, who said she would not contribute to his campaign because her IT firm had not been selected to receive a county contract.

Prosecution rests in Burrell Ellis re-trial


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – The state rested its case Wednesday in the corruption re-trial of embattled former DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis.

In the seventh day of testimony about secret recordings between Ellis and county vendors, Terry Merrell reiterated that he felt pressure from the former CEO to contribute to the politician's campaign.

Court proceedings will resume Thursday as the defense begins presenting their side of the case.

TIMELINE | Hemy Neuman arrest, trial and aftermath


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- The Georgia Supreme Court announced on Monday that it was overturning the conviction of Hemy Neuman in the death of Rusty Sneiderman.

The following is a timeline of events leading to Monday's ruling:

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Testimony on secret recordings in Ellis trial


DECATUR, GA (WXIA) – Monday was a day of testimony about secret recordings and so-called uncomfortable conversations in the Burrell Ellis retrial.

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Ellis, the now-suspended DeKalb County CEO, is accused of intimidating county vendors into giving him campaign contributions in exchange for county contracts.

"It was the classic pay-to-play scenario," said Brandon Cummings, while on the stand.

That's how Cummings described what he repeatedly called an uncomfortable phone conversation with Ellis.