ACLU of Georgia Hires Burrell Ellis as Political Director


(AJC.com) - The ACLU of Georgia said Monday it hired former DeKalb County chief executive Burrell Ellis as the organization’s first political director, a new role designed to bolster the group’s profile and influence under the Gold Dome.

It is a return to the public spotlight for Ellis, who was a rising political star when he was elected the county’s top official in 2008. Instead, his tenure was most remembered for a long-running corruption probe that targeted his administration.

The civil rights group cited what it called Ellis’ personal experience with the “harsh reality of injustice” in announcing his hire, a point he embraced in an interview Monday about his new job.

“Justice doesn’t just happen. And I’ve seen what happens when justice doesn’t happen. People lose the right to a fair trial, the right to counsel, the right to defend themselves,” said Ellis, a real estate attorney. “We have to fight for that. We have to be vigilant to ensure those rights are protected.”

Ellis was found guilty in July 2015 of trying to shake down a county contractor and served an eight-month prison sentence for his convictions. He always maintained his innocence and the Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously in November 2016 that he had been denied a fair trial.

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