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Judge denies Tisdale’s motion for new trial
Citizen journalist says she will proceed to court of appeals

Nearly four years to the date of her arrest at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm and nine months after she was found guilty of misdemeanor obstruction of an officer, Nydia Tisdale’s motion for a new trial was denied by a Dawson County Superior Court judge.

After a week-long trial, the self-proclaimed citizen journalist was sentenced Dec. 18 to serve 12 months of probation, 40 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 fine for her August 2014 altercation with a Dawson County law enforcement officer.

Tisdale was found not guilty of felony obstruction of an officer and misdemeanor criminal trespass; charges that stemmed from her forced removal from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm in Dawsonville, where she was filming a Republican Party campaign rally.

Tisdale was sentenced under Georgia’s First Time Offenders Act, which means that if she completed the sentence without issue, her record would be cleared.

 On Jan. 8 Tisdale filed a motion under the grounds that there was “insufficient evidence to support the verdict” and “the trial court committed errors of law,” warranting a new trial.

Tisdale was arrested at an Aug. 23, 2014 campaign rally attended by statewide officeholders including Gov. Nathan Deal, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins and Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. She was arrested by Capt. Tony Wooten of the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office after being asked to stop filming by organizers; the event was publicly advertised and held on private property.

After Tisdale refused to stop filming, Wooten forcibly removed her. During the trial Wooten claimed he was kicked and elbowed by Tisdale as he took her away from the event.

Tisdale argued that her forced removal violated her First Amendment rights and claimed during the trial that Wooten, who refused to identify himself as he held her pinned to a counter in a barn at the pumpkin farm, sexually assaulted and physically harmed her.

During a hearing July 31, Tisdale’s new representation, Andrew Fleischman of Ross & Pines LLC, argued that Tisdale’s guilty charge of misdemeanor obstruction of an officer should be thrown out due to the same issue that persisted throughout the original trial; that Tisdale did not know Wooten was a law enforcement officer when she resisted arrest.

In her judgement filed Aug. 22, Superior Court Judge Martha Christian argues that the jury did have sufficient evidence to find Tisdale guilty of obstruction and denied her request for a new trial.

Tisdale took to Twitter on Aug. 23, four years to the date after her arrest, and stated that she would be taking her case to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Noah Pines said Tuesday via email that Ross & Pines will be representing her during the appeal.