Attorney Russell Stookey, left, and Fannin Focus publisher Mark Thomason. Rhonda Cook/rcook@ajc.com
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

North Georgia publisher survives jailing but not economic pressures

Weekly newspaper publisher Mark Thomason was aggressive in his coverage of local news.

But when he pushed too hard for some court spending records, both he and his lawyer were charged with felonies and jailed. The chief judge in the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit accused the two of identity fraud and fraud. Thomason was also charged with making a false statement because of the words he used in his written request for public records.

IN-DEPTH: How a judge spent money in court account

MORE: Charges dropped

Both were cleared of their legal troubles when the local district attorney dropped the felony charges. But the Fannin Focus suffered and was shuttered within months as Blue Ridge businesses immediately started pulling their ads.

Was there an orchestrated effort to close the newspaper like Thomason believes? Or was it simply a matter of economics as local businesses and officials contend?

Please visit MyAJC.com for the full story. 

In other news: Complaint filed against judge

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