DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Governor Nathan Deal and former Attorney General Sam Olens, two of Georgia’s most prominent political figures, are expected to testify at Nydia Tisdale’s trial in Dawson County Superior Court this week.
Tisdale is charged with felony obstruction of an officer, misdemeanor obstruction and criminal trespass stemming from her conduct at a Republican political rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in August 2014. Deal, Olens, Senator David Perdue, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler and School Superintendent Richard Woods were featured speakers. All have been subpoenaed.
While the event was advertised as “open to the public,” it took place on private property owned by Johnny and Kathy Burt. Johnny Burt testified Wednesday that he did not authorize the ads, and he wanted Tisdale to stop filming or leave. When she refused, he told then Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten to “get her out of here.”
Witnesses said when Wooten attempted to lead Tisdale away from the crowd, she began screaming and flailing her arms and hit Wooten in the face and was subsequently placed under arrest.
The audio and pictures of the struggle were captured by Brian K. Pritchard of Fetch Your News, who was seated directly behind Tisdale. Pritchard is also expected to testify, possibly as early as today (Nov. 30).
At the time of the arrest, Olens was the top law enforcement official in Georgia. Public comments he made after Tisdale’s arrest could be pivotal in the case. Olens questioned the political wisdom of having her removed, saying: “What are we saying here that shouldn’t be on film? What message are we sending?”
But he added, “It is private property. The property owner has the right to not have the person there.”
The state could wrap up its case today. The defense will then begin calling its witnesses.