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Public Defender

What happens when a liberal public defender represents right-wing members of the January 6th mob?

Heather Shaner, a feisty, blue-haired defense attorney in Washington, DC, has spent over 40 years representing people who can’t afford a lawyer. But her empathy hits a limit when a violent mob supporting outgoing President Donald Trump storms the U.S. Capitol.

She is assigned to represent Jack Griffith, a social media influencer, and Annie Howell, a single mother and

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painter. As Heather gets to know her clients, she discovers Jack and Annie were deceived by misinformation and thought they’d joined a righteous defense of democracy, not creeping authoritarianism.


PUBLIC DEFENDER explores the delicate state of U.S. democracy, the forces threatening to tear it apart, and the people dedicated to protecting it. When trust is lost amidst a growing political divide, the unlikely bonds between Heather and her clients reveal how people can rise above the fray to find each other’s humanity.

PUBLIC DEFENDER will premiere at Mountainfilm in May 2024.

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Produced in partnership with

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