ALBANY -- Less than a week after a federal grand jury handed up a four-count indictment against the Alapaha Circuit District Attorney, he is free on $50,000 bond.

Robert B. Ellis, accompanied by his attorney, Converse Bright, entered a plea of not guilty and listened to the charges against him. He was booked by federal marshals.

A tentative date of June 7 as been set for the trial calendar of Judge Hugh Lawson, said a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office.

Magistrate Judge Richard Hodge told Ellis he could face a sentence of 324 to 372 months if he is found guilty by a jury during the arraignment.

Hodge informed Ellis that while under bond, he may not carry a firearm or have any contact with the woman connected to the case or any non-law enforcement witness. Ellis must also surrender his passport and not travel outside of Georgia without permission.

Ellis is accused of forcing a woman to perform sexual acts and later attempting to cover it up by telling her not to speak with federal investigators. Last Thursday, he issued a statement declaring his innocence and his readiness to prove it in court.

Ellis still serves as district attorney for the Alapaha Circuit, which consists of Atkinson, Berrien, Clinch Cook and Lanier. His indictment has been mailed to the governor's office, which will decided if he can remain as district attorney while under federal indictment. He can still qualify for office on April 26. At least three other candidates have expressed interest in the position.



To contact Tanya B. O'Berry, call 244-3400, ext. 239.

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