Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, has been called a “necessary and material witness” by prosecutors. (Mike Lang/Sarasota Herald-Tribune/Pool/AP)
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ATLANTA — Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, appeared Thursday before a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn Georgia’s presidential election results.

Flynn arrived at the Fulton County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta shortly before 1 p.m. on Thursday. He exited about an hour later, accompanied by his attorneys and under heavy security, including police officers who carried automatic rifles. In response to questions about his appearance and whether he had answered the jury’s questions, Flynn did not reply, even as reporters followed him to a nearby parking garage.

Flynn’s appearance came after a Florida appeals court this week rejected his latest effort to quash a summons from prosecutors in Fulton County, Ga., who have called him a “necessary and material witness” in the grand jury investigation into alleged election interference by Trump and his allies.

A lawyer for Flynn did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office also did not respond to a request for comment.

The special grand jury is considering whether Trump and his allies violated Georgia law when they spread rumors about alleged election fraud in the state and pressured state officials to undertake efforts that would change the results of the state’s presidential election, which Trump lost by fewer than 12,000 votes.

In a court filing, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis listed four areas of interest that she wanted Flynn to testify about, including a December 2020 appearance he made on Newsmax suggesting Trump could use “military capabilities” to rerun elections in states, including Georgia.

The prosecutor also cited a subsequent meeting Flynn had at the White House with Trump, attorney Sidney Powell and other Trump campaign advisers where the group floated ways of overturning the 2020 election results, including martial law and seizing voting machines. Those suggestions were outlined in a draft executive order presented to Trump at the meeting.

In her request for Flynn’s testimony, Willis noted the meeting came “three weeks after” Trump pardoned Flynn for lying to the FBI during the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Willis also pointed to Flynn’s presence at meetings organized at the South Carolina home of conservative attorney L. Lin Wood where Trump allies discussed “options to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Prosecutors filed notice of Flynn’s summons in early October – kicking off a two-month legal battle in Florida, where the former Trump adviser lives.

Jason Greaves, an attorney for Flynn, strenuously pushed back against the Fulton County summons, suggesting prosecutors had based their request around “media innuendo” and had not proved that Flynn was a material witness to the investigation.

But Sarasota County Chief Judge Charles Roberts twice sided with Georgia prosecutors, ruling that Flynn was a key witness and ordering him to appear in Atlanta. That decision was reaffirmed Tuesday by the Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals, which also declined to stay Flynn’s case amid further appeals.

Flynn has not been publicly identified as a target in the Fulton County grand jury investigation. But it was also not clear if he would answer questions before the grand jury.

He repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition before the House subcommittee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol, which also sought to question Flynn about the December meeting with Trump.

Flynn is believed to be one of the last witnesses in the Georgia election probe. During a Florida court hearing last week over Flynn’s subpoena, Will Wooten, a deputy Fulton County district attorney, told the judge the number of remaining witnesses expected to testify before the grand jury is now in the “single digits.”

The panel has also sought testimony from Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

Last week, the South Carolina Supreme Court rejected Meadows’s appeal of his summons in the case — though it was not clear if the former Trump aide would appeal the matter further or when his testimony would be scheduled. An attorney for Meadows declined to comment. A spokesman for Willis did not respond to a request for comment.

Gingrich continues to appeal his requested appearance in the case before the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Willis has said she hopes to wrap up the grand jury before the end of the year. The panel will issue a report of recommendations to Willis, who is expected to make any charging decisions later this year or in early 2023.