DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Attorneys made their closing arguments and Senior Superior Court Judge Martha Christian turned the case over to the jury around midday Monday in the trial of Nydia Tisdale on charges of obstruction of an officer and criminal trespassing.
The charges against Tisdale stem from a political rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in August 2014. The state argued that Tisdale, a “self-proclaimed” citizen journalist, refused repeated requests by owner Johnny Burt to stop filming the event then elbowed and kicked former Dawson County Sheriff Capt. Tony Wooten when he attempted to remove her.
In her closing argument, defense attorney Catherine Bernard said the case was about the notice Tisdale was given. “Nydia Tisdale was never asked (to stop filming) by anyone who had legal authority,” she said. “You can’t just tell somebody to get off somebody else’s property. You have to present some type of authority.”
Assistant District Attorney Conley Greer countered by saying Clint Bearden identified himself as a representative of the owner when he asked Tisdale to stop filming.
Bernard said it wasn’t the Burts who initiated the request to stop filming, but Bearden, who claimed some of the campaigns were unhappy she was filming.
Greer said that doesn’t matter. “No matter the rationale (the owner) had every right to make that decision,” Greer added.
The basis of the state’s argument is that the case is about private property rights.
“If a person can’t be free on his own property to do with that property what he sees fit, can they ever be free?” Greer asked. “Ever?”
Tisdale could face up to five years in jail if convicted.
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