Closing arguments set Monday in Tisdale trial


Attorneys Conley Greer (seated) and defense attorney Bruce Harvey talk during court recess.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Closing arguments are expected Monday in the long-delayed trial of Nydia Tisdale, the self-proclaimed citizen journalist charged with felony obstruction of an officer following a 2014 Republican rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.

Senior State Superior Court Judge Martha Christian could have continued the trial today (Dec. 2) but indicated she was aware of a special event taking place today that could be a distraction, referring to the Georgia vs. Auburn SEC Championship game in Atlanta.

Tisdale is also charged with misdemeanor obstruction and criminal trespassing. She could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Nydia Tisdale charged with felony obstruction of an officer.

The state contends that Tisdale ignored the property owners’ repeated demands to stop filming the rally or leave, then struck and kicked former Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten when he attempted to remove her.

On the witness stand Friday, Tisdale admitted she had been told on three separate occasions to stop filming but said, “In my mind, he didn’t have any authority to demand that of me.” Tisdale repeatedly said she had the permission of Burt’s Pumpkin Farm co-owner Kathy Burt to film the event.

However, Burt and her daughter, Kasey Sanders, greeted Tisdale when she arrived and both testified the defendant never asked permission. They said she indicated she was there filming for Gov. Nathan Deal, who also attended the rally. Burt said she felt like Tisdale misrepresented herself.

There were other apparent inconsistencies in Tisdale’s testimony. She said as she was being detained by Wooten, she heard Burt say she did not want to press charges. However, Burt denied saying that and an audio recording on Tisdale’s camera picked up no such statement by Burt.

Judge Martha Christian considers objection from defense counsel.

Tisdale also testified that she never hit Wooten but Morris Petit, who testified for the state, said he witnessed the defendant strike the officer, “around the facial area, the neck. That was almost immediate.”

Defense attorney Bruce Harvey subpoenaed Gov. Nathan Deal, who occupied a front row seat near Tisdale at the rally, but Christian quashed the subpoena.

She also denied a motion by Harvey for a directed verdict.

Other leading state officials, including former Attorney General Sam Olens, Labor Commissioner Mark Butler, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and State School Superintendent Richard Woods did testify this week. All said they had no objection to Tisdale filming the event.

Hudgens, one of the first state officials to speak at the event, testified he did not talk to anyone about getting rid of Tisdale or stopping her from filming.

However, Clint Bearden, an attorney who is on the short list to become a state superior court judge, testified on rebuttal that Hudgens was outraged by being filmed and wanted Tisdale to stop.

Bearden said he told Burt’s Pumpkin Farm co-owner Johnny Burt that some of the campaigns were concerned about being filmed, and Burt responded by saying, “Tell her to turn off the camera.”


Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at











  1. Leah December 2, 2017 at 10:11 am

    The ADA for the state is Conley Greer, not Conley Gregg. Maybe you should double check the spelling of someone’s name before you post a story.

    • Bill Johnson December 2, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Thanks for reading Fetch Your News, Leah. You are correct and the correction has been made.

  2. Mike Scupin December 2, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I find it very interesting that you use the term “self-proclaimed” citizen journalist. That sounds as if your claiming she is not a journalist.

    All journalism in America began with citizen journalist. I guess you would designate the founders of journalism in America as “self-proclaimed” citizen journalust.

    In essence is that not what you’re boss Brian Pritchard is? If my memory is correct he came out of the construction industry to eventually start Fetch-Your-News.

    Your sorry is very obviously biased which greatly dissapoints me.

    You fail to mention others that testified that ALSO HAD OBVIOUS INCONSISTENCIES in their testamony like Johnny Burt did when he lied about how he knew Tisdale was from Fulton Co.

    Why single out Nydia and no one else other than your bias?

    Very disappointed in Bill in you. I expected far more objectivity from you than what this story shows.

    Begs the question as to what Fetch-Your-News is. Based on this story Fetch-Your-News could join the club of the rest of the main stream media.

    • Bill Johnson December 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks for reading Fetch Your News Mike.

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