Kelvin Ellis, who served federal prison time for plotting to kill a federal witness only to be caught in a trap set by police, will have to wait until September to learn whether he will be sent back to prison for up to two years for allegedly associating with known felons.
U.S. District Court chief judge Michael Reagan set Sept. 14 for another hearing after the lawyer for Ellis argued Thursday that a recent federal appeals court ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago found that the federal law pertaining to association with felons was not applicable because it had been found to be vague. At the time of the alleged association with a felon, Ellis was still on federal supervised release, a type of parole, for another conviction.
Ellis, who has held a number of jobs for the city over the years, was allowed to remain free, although Reagan repeated his earlier restrictions that until the matter is decided Ellis cannot consort with known felons nor be employed in an public job where taxpayer money is involved.
Reagan asked the defense and Assistant U.S. Attorney Norm Smith to research the law prohibiting felons from meeting with felons to determine whether it is “enforceable” in the specific legal case involving Ellis.
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Ellis is accused of meeting with several felons including newly convicted former East St. Louis Township Supervisor Oliver Hamilton. Hamilton is serving a five-year sentence imposed by Reagan for his guilty plea to wire fraud involving the theft of $40,000 in taxpayer funds through the use of a publicly backed credit card.
The News-Democrat reported last year in a series of articles that Hamilton made questionable purchases over four years when he charged about $230,000 on the card.
In 2005, Ellis was convicted of obstruction of justice, tax evasion and tampering with a witness. The tampering charge involved a police sting where officers took photographs of a woman who was posing as a murder victim, and then arranged for undercover operatives to show him the photos. He was also accused of running a prostitution ring out of East St. Louis City Hall. Ellis was convicted 15 years earlier of extortion charges in connection with his city hall job during Carl Officer’s first term as mayor.