Open to Debate (Mock) Tries Trump for the January 6th Attacks, Live Virtual Taping December 14

November 25, 2023
Shore Fire Media

Lanny Davis for the Prosecution

Sara Azari for the Defense


On December 14, Open to Debate (formerly Intelligence Squared U.S.) introduces a new debate format: “Mock Trial.” This new format brings Open to Debate’s balanced approach to the most important cases in America’s legal system to educate listeners across the country. The question to be debated—or, rather, tried— is “Is Trump Guilty in the January 6th Case?” In a preview of what could happen at the actual trial, two lawyers will argue evidence of whether or not the former President is guilty of conspiracy to defraud the federal government function to collect, count, and certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Esteemed legal experts will be invited to cross-examine the arguments presented by the prosecution and defense.

The Prosecutor is Lanny Davis, a Washington D.C. litigator and crisis manager, who has served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton and won the Yale Law School Thurman Arnold Moot Court prize. In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Davis to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

The Defense Attorney is Sara Azari, an experienced state and federal criminal trial lawyer. Azari is resident Legal Analyst on NewsNation and represents clients in California courts as well as federal district and circuit courts across the United States.

While the episode will not be released widely until January 5th via public radio, video and podcast, press are invited to attend and serve as cross-examiners at the live virtual taping on Thursday, December 14 at 12:00 PM ET. Media can email for virtual access.




Lanny Davis, Attorney and Former Presidential Advisor

Lanny Davis is the founder of the Washington, D.C., law firm, Lanny J. Davis Associates and a lawyer who counsels individuals, corporations, and others on crisis management and legal issues. He is one of the first to use legal crisis management to solve client problems – operating at the intersection of law, media, and politics. He has handled the cases of public figures from Martha Stewart to Dan Snyder, companies from Whole Foods to Starbucks, and political figures from President Bill Clinton to the board of Trustees of the Penn State University. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Connecticut and before the Supreme Court of the United States and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. During the Clinton administration, Lanny served as special counsel to Bill Clinton and was a spokesperson for the president and the White House on matters concerning campaign finance investigations and other legal issues. In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Davis to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. From 1980 to 1992, he served three terms on the Democratic National Committee representing Maryland. During that period, he served on the DNC’s Executive Committee and as chairman of the Eastern Region Caucus. He has penned a “Purple Nation” column for more than 13 years, which has been published in multiple news publications and he has been a regular television commentator and a political and legal analyst for MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, and other network television news programs. He graduated from Yale Law School, where he won the prestigious Thurman Arnold Moot Court prize and served on the Yale Law Journal.



Sara Azari, Criminal Defense Attorney and Legal Analyst for NewsNation

Sara Azari is an experienced state and federal criminal defense attorney, published author, co-host of The Presumption Podcast, and resident Legal Analyst on NewsNation. She represents clients in California courts as well as federal district courts across the United States. She also has provided legal commentary and analysis for national media outlets including CNN, NBC, and ABC. Azari has also been recognized as a “Super Lawyer,” a Thomson Reuters rating, consecutively since 2008 and is a member of the American Bar Association, International Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Criminal Courts Bar Association Women Lawyer’s Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She received her JD (Cum Laude) from Southwestern University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature, with honors, from the University of California, Los Angeles.


Open to Debate addresses a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. We are the nation’s only nonpartisan, debate-driven media organization dedicated to bringing multiple viewpoints together for a constructive, balanced, respectful exchange of ideas. Open to Debate is a platform for intellectually curious and open-minded people to engage with others holding opposing views on complex issues. We know debate works to find common ground: On average, 32% of the Open to Debate audience changes their mind on contentious topics after hearing a debate. That’s the power of debate done right, and at scale, it can change the direction we’re headed in America. Open to Debate is broadcast as a weekly public radio program, carried on NPR stations including WNYC (#1 in the nation). Open to Debate is made available as a podcast, video series, and digital platform, and records episodes with live audiences nationwide. Visit to become a member, access an archive of more than 220 debates, and attend live events.

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For more information on Open to Debate, please contact Ray Padgett ( or Mark Satlof ( at Shore Fire Media.

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