AP

Flynn, Gingrich testimony sought in Georgia election probe

Oct 7, 2022, 2:56 AM | Updated: Oct 9, 2022, 9:21 am

FILE - Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, speaks to ...

FILE - Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to former President Donald Trump, speaks to attendees as he endorses New York City mayoral candidate Fernando Mateo during a campaign event on June 3, 2021, in Staten Island, N.Y. The Georgia prosecutor investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 election filed paperwork Friday, Oct. 7, seeking to compel testimony from a new batch of Trump allies, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia prosecutor investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 election filed paperwork Friday seeking to compel testimony from a new batch of Trump allies, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed petitions in court seeking to have Gingrich and Flynn, as well as former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and others, testify next month before a special grand jury that’s been seated to aid her investigation.

They join a string of other high-profile Trump allies and advisers who have been called to testify in the probe. Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Trump attorney who’s been told he could face criminal charges in the probe, testified in August. Attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro have also appeared before the panel. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s attempt to fight his subpoena is pending in a federal appeals court. And paperwork has been filed seeking testimony from others, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Flynn didn’t immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment, and his lawyer also didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment. Gingrich referred questions to his attorney, who declined to comment. Herschmann could not immediately be reached.

Willis has said she plans to take a monthlong break from public activity in the case leading up to the November midterm election, which is one month from Saturday.

Each of the petitions filed Friday seeks to have the potential witnesses appear in November after the election. But the process for securing testimony from out-of-state witnesses sometimes takes a while, so it appears Willis is putting the wheels in motion for activity to resume after her self-imposed pause.

Compelling testimony from witnesses who don’t live in Georgia requires Willis to use a process that involves getting judges in the states where they live to order them to appear. The petitions she filed Friday are essentially precursors to subpoenas.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who’s overseeing the special grand jury, signed off on the petitions, certifying that each person whose testimony is sought is a “necessary and material” witness for the investigation.

The petition for Gingrich’s testimony relies on “information made publicly available” by the U.S. House committee that’s investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

It says he was involved along with others associated with the Trump campaign in a plan to run television ads that “repeated and relied upon false claims about fraud in the 2020 election” and encouraged members of the public to contact state officials to push them to challenge and overturn the election results based on those claims.

Gingrich was also involved in a plan to have Republican fake electors sign certificates falsely stating that Trump had won the state and that they were the state’s official electors even though Democrat Joe Biden had won, the petition says.

The petition seeking Flynn’s testimony says he appeared in an interview on conservative cable news channel Newsmax and said Trump “could take military capabilities” and place them in swing states and “basically re-run an election in each of those states.”

He also met with Trump, attorney Sidney Powell and others at the White House on Dec. 18, 2020, for a meeting that, according to news reports, “focused on topics including invoking martial law, seizing voting machines, and appointing Powell as special counsel to investigate the 2020 election,” Willis wrote.

Willis in August filed a petition seeking testimony from Powell.

Herschmann, who featured prominently in the House committee hearings on the Capitol attack, was a senior adviser to Trump from August 2020 through the end of his term and “was present for multiple meetings between former President Trump and others related to the 2020 election,” Willis wrote in the petition seeking his testimony.

She wrote that the House committee also revealed that Herschmann had “multiple conversations” with Eastman, Giuliani, Powell “and others known to be associated with the Trump Campaign, related to their efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.” Specifically, he had a “heated conversation” with Eastman “concerning efforts in Georgia,” she added.

Willis also filed petitions Friday to compel testimony from Jim Penrose and Stephen Cliffgard Lee.

She identified Penrose as “a cyber investigations, operations and forensics consultant” who worked with Powell and others known to be associated with the Trump campaign in late 2020 and early 2021.

He also communicated with Powell and others regarding an agreement to hire data solutions firm SullivanStrickler to copy data and software from voting system equipment in Coffee County, about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta, as well as in Michigan and Nevada, Willis wrote. Penrose did not immediately respond to an email and phone message seeking comment.

Willis wrote in a petition seeking Lee’s testimony that he was part of an effort to pressure elections worker Ruby Freeman, who was the subject of false claims about election fraud in Fulton County. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Special grand juries are impaneled in Georgia to investigate complex cases with large numbers of witnesses and potential logistical concerns. They can compel evidence and subpoena witnesses for questioning and, unlike regular grand juries, can also subpoena the target of an investigation to appear before it.

When its investigation is complete, the special grand jury issues a final report and can recommend action. It’s then up to the district attorney to decide whether to ask a regular grand jury for an indictment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: A person wears a T-shirt with the names of Kristin Smith, Charity Lynn Perry, Joanna Speaks,...

Associated Press

Man probed in deaths of women in northwest Oregon indicted in 3 killings

A man who has been under investigation in the deaths of four women whose bodies were found across northwest Oregon has been indicted.

8 hours ago

Image: The headquarters for The Boeing Company can be seen in Arlington, Virginia, on Jan. 31, 2024...

Associated Press

Police conclude investigation into suicide of Boeing whistleblower

A former manager who raised safety questions about the aircraft maker and, later, was found dead took his own life, police said Friday.

15 hours ago

Image: Scottie Scheffler celebrates after a birdie on the 10th hole during the second round of the ...

Associated Press

No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler: From the course to jail and back after Friday arrest

Top-ranked golfer Scottie Scheffler was arrested after police say he dragged an officer while trying to get around a fatal accident Friday.

2 days ago

Photo: Seattle Times publisher and CEO Frank Blethen announced he will step down at the end of next...

Associated Press

Seattle Times CEO to step down after 4 decades in charge of family-owned paper

Seattle Times publisher and CEO Frank Blethen announced he will step down at the end of next year after four decades of leading the paper.

2 days ago

Image: Andy Jassy, Amazon president and CEO, attends an event on Aug. 15, 2022, in Culver City, Cal...

Associated Press

Comments from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy about unions violated federal law, NLRB judge rules

A federal judge ruled Amazon CEO Andy Jassy violated labor law by making certain anti-union comments during media interviews two years ago.

16 days ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court before his trial in New Yo...

Associated Press

Judge raises threat of jail as he holds Trump in contempt, fines him at trial

Former President Donald Trump was held in contempt of court at his trial Tuesday and fined $9,000 for repeatedly violating a gag order.

19 days ago

Flynn, Gingrich testimony sought in Georgia election probe