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Burrell Ellis ordered to serve 18 months in prison | News

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Burrell Ellis ordered to serve 18 months in prison
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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis has been sentenced to five years, one week after being found guilty of one count of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion and three counts of perjury.

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Ellis was acquitted of four counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion and one count of bribery.

Wednesday morning, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson sentenced Ellis to five years with 18 months to serve in prison for the attempted extortion conviction. He received an additional five years with 18 months to serve, to run concurrently, for the perjury charges. He must also pay a $1,000 fine.

Ellis was on trial for the second time after a first jury failed to reach a verdict. Lawyers made closing arguments in the second trial of Ellis on June 24.

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The perjury counts related to testimony Ellis gave to a special grand jury in 2013. The jury also found that Ellis ordered the county to stop doing business with Power and Energy Services after they refused to donate to Ellis' campaign.

Even in the last moments before he was sentenced, Ellis insisted that he never did anything wrong.

"I do, however, sincerely apologize to the citizens and regret any of my actions that have cast this county in a bad light," he said.

In sentencing Ellis, DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson said, "The ultimate responsibility of a public servant is to serve the public, to serve the people, and instead you chose to serve your own interest."

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After the sentencing, Ellis' wife, Phillipa Ellis, thanked supporters and said she was proud of her husband.

WATCH | 11Alive legal analyst Phil Holloway talks about the verdict

Ellis is technically still a county employee, but with the conviction, he is now suspended without pay. He had been receiving his annual salary of $153,498 since initially being suspended.

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May released a statement hours after Ellis' conviction:

I encourage everyone to join me in keeping the Ellis family in our thoughts and prayers. I wish them strength in the days and months ahead.

Mr. Ellis remains under suspension during any appeal until the final disposition of his case or the expiration of his term of office, whichever comes first. While the suspension is in effect, I remain as Interim Chief Executive Officer. As Interim CEO, I will continue to stay focused on moving the county forward.

PHOTOS | Burrell Ellis' first trial

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PHOTOS | More mug shots

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