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Publisher plans to file civil suit in open records case

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Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver

     Per the request of Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver, the district attorney has dropped three felony charges against Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason and his attorney Russell Stookey in a case that has drawn criticism from media and First Amendment rights groups across the nation. 

See full story in this week's print or online edition, which includes comments from Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason.

Jasper mayor discusses downtown plans

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The mayor believes making Main Street one way only,  going north, will create more of a friendly, shopping environment in downtown.

     Many downtown business owners in mid-June voiced opinions on potential plans to improve Jasper’s traffic flow, a project currently on the drawing board with paid consulting firm Kimley-Horn.
    Missing from that presentation, however, was a plan advocated by Mayor John Weaver, who vocally complained at the meeting that some of the displayed plans were impossible to build.
See full story with comments from Jasper Mayor John Weaver and a full map in the print and online editions.

Charges dropped against publisher in open records case

   Per the request of Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver, three felony charges have been dropped against Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason and his attorney Russell Stookey in a case that has drawn criticism from across the state.

   Thomason and Stookey both spent time in jail on June 24th after a Pickens County grand jury indicted them on identity fraud, attempted identity fraud and making false statements.

Ga. high court rules against evangelical runner in defamation suit

Kidnapper's sentence reinstated by Ga. Supreme Court in latest rulings

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Opinion summaries are prepared by the Public Information Office for the general public and news media. Summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official opinions of the Court. The full opinions are available on the Supreme Court website at www.gasupreme.us .

COTTRELL V. SMITH ET AL. (S16A0013)

            A self-proclaimed marathon runner and Christian evangelist has lost his appeal of a Cobb County judge’s ruling that overturned a jury’s $635,000 verdict in his favor against five people he had sued for posting defamatory statements about him on the internet.

            According to the facts of the case, for a number of years, Stanley Cottrell, Jr. engaged in highly publicized running exhibitions that had a Christian evangelical and “friendship” emphasis. Cottrell gained public notice and his solo running achievements were often portrayed in movies, books and other media. He successfully parlayed his image as a “world-renowned ultra-marathon runner” into business endeavors, executive leadership roles, and motivational speaking.

Open records case goes viral

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Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver

     The Georgia First Amendment Foundation, the Atlanta Press Club, Georgia Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Georgia Press Association want all charges dropped against a Fannin newspaper publisher and his attorney, with Appalachian Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver accused of jailing them over open records requests.
    On Friday, June 24th, Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason and his attorney Russell Stookey were arrested and charged with attempted identity fraud, identity fraud and making a false statement. The two men were jailed and released on $10,000 bond to await trial.

See full story in this week's print or online edition.