Closing arguments set Monday in Tisdale trial

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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 FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Former AG testimony could be pivotal in Nydia Tisdale’s trial in Superior Court

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Tisdale struggles to escape Dawson County Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Wooten. (Photo by Brian K. Pritchard).

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.

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State presents case against “citizen journalist”

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Nydia Tisdale (left) confers with her defense team during Tuesday’s trial in Dawson County Superior Court.

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Prosecutors presented a string of witnesses who testified Tuesday that self-proclaimed citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale refused repeated requests by Burt’s Pumpkin Farm owners to stop filming a political rally on their property in August 2014.

Event coordinator Clint Bearden testified that Tisdale ignored at least five requests to stop filming before she was physically removed by Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten. Tisdale has been charged with one felony and one misdemeanor count of obstruction of an officer and criminal trespassing after the officer said she elbowed him in the face and kicked him in the shin.

Clint Bearden, an attorney and magistrate judge who is on a short list to become a state superior court judge, testified that he organized the event that included some of Georgia’s top politicians, including Gov. Nathan Deal and then U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue.

Bearden said he and Wooten talked to property owner Johnny Burt who wanted Tisdale to stop filming or leave. He said he asked her 3-4 times to stop and she ignored him. “I thought she was a little rude,” he said. “She said she had permission from the owners, but I told her I had just talked to Johnny Burt and she did not have permission.”

Johnny Burt testified that when Wooten told her to stop filming or leave “she just blurted out ‘No’. So I told him to get her out of here. She was screaming out that my wife told her she could film, and I told her that wasn’t true.”

Kasey Sanders, the Burts’ daughter testified that she was at the entrance when Tisdale arrived and that she never asked for permission. “She just said she was there to film for the governor,” Sanders said.

In an audio recording produced by Brian K. Pritchard of Fetch Your News, Tisdale can be heard screaming for Wooten to identify himself.

Wooten, who was dressed in a black polo shirt with a silver embroidered sheriff’s badge and khakis also had a badge on his belt, his service revolver and a police-issued radio.

Defense attorney Bruce Harvey asked Wooten why he didn’t immediately identify himself. Wooten responded that his first responsibility was the safety of the crowd. “I didn’t know her or what her intentions were,” he said. He said once he got her away from the crowd and she calmed down, he did identify himself.

The trial continues Wednesday in Dawson County Superior Court.

After the jury was dismissed for the day, Judge Martha Christian denied a motion to quash a subpoena for Gov. Nathan Deal who is expected to testify before the end of the week.

The state is expected up wrap up its case Wednesday before the defense begins calling its witnesses.

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Nydia Tisdale obstruction trial finally begins

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The long-awaited trial of Nydia Tisdale, the self-proclaimed citizen journalist charged with two counts of obstruction of an officer, began today (Nov. 27) in Dawson County Superior Court.

Tisdale was arrested by Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten in August 2014 while filming a political candidate rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawson County. If convicted, she could face five years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Conley Greer

Tisdale claims she had the property owner’s permission to film the event. However, owners, Johnny and Kathy Burt, told Dawsonnews.com Tisdale misled them. They say they asked Wooten to tell her to stop filming or leave their property. Wooten says when she refused to stop filming, he arrested her. According to the arrest warrant, Tisdale elbowed Wooten in the face and kicked him in the shin.

Day one of the trial began with several motions by Defense Attorney Bruce Harvey and Assistant District Attorney Conley Greer. Senior Superior Court Judge Martha Christian said she would rule on motions prior to hearing opening statements.

Jury selection is expected to continue through late Tuesday (Nov. 28), followed by opening statements by both attorneys.

Defense Attorney Bruce Harvey

Fetch Your News owner Brian K. Pritchard attended the rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm on the day Tisdale was arrested. It was his audio recording and subsequent reporting of the incident that attracted state and national attention. Pritchard said he has been subpoenaed by the state and is expected to testify this week.

The arrest sparked outrage by the mainstream media and political activists who claim Tisdale’s First Amendment rights had been violated. Property rights advocates, on the other hand, say property owners have every right to evict someone from their property.

 

 

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 FetchYourNews.com

 


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Three-year wait ends as Tisdale trial begins Monday

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Jury selection begins Monday in Dawson County Superior Court in the long-awaited trial of Nydia Tisdale, the self-proclaimed citizen journalist charged Aug. 2014 with trespassing and felony obstruction of an officer.

Tisdale was arrested by Dawson County Sheriff’s Captain Tony Wooten while filming a political candidate rally at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawson County. She could face five years in prison if convicted.

Fetch Your News owner Brian K. Pritchard attended the rally. It was his audio recording and subsequent reporting of the incident that attracted state and national attention. Pritchard has been subpoenaed by the state and is expected to testify next week.

Citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale faces five years in prison if convicted of obstruction of an officer.

Tisdale claims she had the property owner’s permission to film the event. But owners, Johnny and Kathy Burt, told Dawsonnews.com Tisdale misled them. They say they asked Wooten to tell her to stop filming or leave their property. Wooten says when she refused to stop filming, he arrested her.

According to the arrest warrant, Tisdale elbowed Wooten in the face and kicked him in the shin.

The arrest sparked outrage by the mainstream media and political activists who claim Tisdale’s First Amendment rights had been violated. Property rights advocates, on the other hand, say property owners have every right to evict someone from their property.

 

 

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 FetchYourNews.com

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