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Judge orders activist to stay away from Covington attorney
Newton County Historic Courthouse
Newton County Historic Courthouse - Mason Wittner | The Covington News

COVINGTON, Ga. — A judge has ordered a community activist to stay at least 300 yards away from a Covington attorney for a year after issuing a protective order related in part to an incident following a county government meeting.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Foster issued the 12-month order Monday, June 28, against Denise Barnes-Williams of Covington after a series of stalking incidents, including one June 15 following a Newton County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Foster’s order stated Williams admitted to violating a state stalking law and placed Lindsey “in reasonable fear for” her safety.

The judge's order also stated Williams must not contact Lindsey and must remain at least 300 yards from Lindsey and her family anywhere in Georgia, according to documents filed in the Clerk of Courts office.

However, it allows Williams to attend any governmental meetings in Newton County as long as she remains at least 25 feet away from Lindsey “and does not directly address her.”

Lindsey and Williams are frequent public speakers during Board of Commissioners meetings.

An incident report stated Lindsey told a Covington Police officer she was standing with a Newton County sheriff’s deputy in front of the Historic Courthouse on the Covington Square following the board’s June 15 meeting. Between 9 and 9:15 p.m., Williams “began approaching them.”

The deputy, Billy Gordon, was covering security for the building. Lindsey said she believed the woman was going to walk past her and Gordon but Williams “stopped and began staring at Lindsey,” the report stated.

“As Williams was staring, Lindsey asked if she was going to say something and at that time Williams began yelling at her stating, ‘I don’t have to speak!’ Williams also stated to Ms. Lindsey, ‘I will beat you’re a--!’” 

Lindsey and Williams then filed restraining orders against each other in Newton County Superior Court. 

Judge Ken Wynne ordered them to appear for a hearing about their requests because “each alleges multiple instances of conduct on the part of the other occurring on different dates” but shared the June 15 incident in which both alleged “provocative conduct” by the other.

During the Monday hearing, Lindsey said Williams in May had videotaped her being dropped off at her office following a lunch with County Chairman Marcello Banes, an area newspaper reported. 

She filed for a protective order after learning Williams had not been charged in the June 15 incident because Covington Police had turned the case over to the GBI for investigation.

Williams initially said she did not approach Lindsey in front of the courthouse on June 15, despite testimony to the contrary by Gordon and a security videotape showing that she did. 

She later said she “probably” should not have made the threat to Lindsey but felt Lindsey had tried to provoke her on several prior occasions, the newspaper reported.

Williams recently filed open records requests for purchasing card (P-card) records of County Chairman Marcello Banes which later were posted on a Facebook page titled The Newton Exposer whose owner lists itself as a media/news company, according to county records.

Comments by The Newton Exposer’s Facebook page owner have been critical of Lindsey. The page owner also posted a recording of a phone conversation between Lindsey and former coroner Dorothea Bailey-Butts and included comments critical of Lindsey.

Lindsey has supported Banes politically in the past. She is also representing Banes in his lawsuit seeking to gain tens of thousands in back pay he said the county owes him because of a misinterpretation of a state law specifying how the county’s constitutional officers should be compensated.