Problem's Over 

"She's gonna come up missing, and it ain't gonna be on your hands."

This past Friday, January 21, federal agents arrested 55-year-old Kelvin Ellis, director of regulatory affairs for the city of East St. Louis, on four counts of obstruction of justice. The most serious allegation: Ellis is said to have conspired with an FBI informant to have an unidentified female federal witness killed in order to cover up alleged voter fraud.

Federal officials say they wiretapped a series of conversations last fall between Ellis and the FBI informant. Below are transcripts of five of those conversations, as provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office:

Ellis [October 6]: We got to kill any credibility she's got. I ain't gonna let this bitch get me in trouble over bullshit. Destroy her credibility, because if there's any shit about the voting, or anything else, we don't want her to have any credibility nowhere. What they interested in is any voting violations, but they may be trying to link all that shit together. Do what we can to take her ass off the street.

FBI Informant [October 7]: So how far do you want it to go?

Ellis: Shit, all the way. I want her credibility destroyed. This bitch trying to destroy us, no telling what she's saying. The bitch can do a hundred years.

Informant: What do you want me to do?

Ellis: Far as you can take it. I want this bitch locked up.

Informant [November 19]: So what you and I talked about before might twist the whole thing?

Ellis: Uh huh. Tie it up. Dead as a motherfucker, OK.

Informant: To derail her, do you want me to go through...

Ellis: I want her ass taken out.

Informant: Do you want me to go to her and plant that crack on her?

Ellis: Shit, I want her ass taken out, however we have to do it.

Informant [November 22]: Do you think she's the actual problem, the girl?

Ellis: I think so.

Informant: If we put the crack on her, that's a ten-year thing, but do you want that done, or do you want her out of the picture?

Ellis: I ain't concerned with how, I ain't concerned with what, I'm concerned that this problem go away. Keep me and you clear of this bullshit. This bitch ain't worth destroying the lives of everyone in that office; me, you...you know, this is serious shit.

Informant: We can dispose of her, I mean dispose of her, I ain't talking about with the crack, if that's what you want done, I mean if that's gonna make the problem go away.

Ellis: All we've got to do is discredit her, dispose of her, she needs to be handled, she needs to be handled. I don't want you to do nothing that's gonna get you in trouble. I don't want you to do nothing that's gonna get me in trouble. Now if, however, we can find a way to eliminate this problem...

Informant: If you feel that's the problem, the problem's gone.

Ellis: That's the problem. I don't need you to do nothing that's gonna hurt you. I don't need you to do nothing that's gonna hurt me.

Informant: We ain't gonna be the ones that do it. I got someone who's gonna do it for us. Between you, me and the wall, she's gonna come up missing, and it ain't gonna be on your hands or on my hands.

Ellis: This is nothing to play with. They're trying to send us to jail, they're trying to ruin our lives, affect our families and everything.

Informant: But you think the girl's the only one that can send us to jail?

Ellis: I think this girl is the key to everything they do.

[Federal agents subsequently staged the violent murder of the unidentified witness and had the informant show Ellis a photo purporting to prove she was dead.]

Informant [November 24]: If that was the problem, the problem's over.

Ellis: Our problem's over.

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