Newspaper publisher arrested after open records request - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Newspaper publisher arrested after open records request

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JASPER, Ga. (AP) - The publisher of a weekly north Georgia newspaper was jailed, along with his lawyer, after officials alleged his open records request for county checks written to two local judges included a criminal falsehood, and that a subpoena they issued constituted an attempt to commit identity fraud.

The charges have drawn condemnation from a state journalism organization, but the local prosecutor has said they were justified.

The indictment filed June 24 in Pickens County accuses Fannin Focus newspaper publisher Mark Thomason of making a false statement. It charges him and his lawyer, Russell Stookey, with identity fraud and attempt to commit identity fraud.

They were arrested June 24 and were released on bond.

The case stems from a legal battle with a court reporter over the release of an audio recording.

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