CHICAGO – The scales have tipped in the name of justice and a verdict has been reached. Now, viewers will have the chance to experience the National Hellenic Museum’s (NHM) The Trial of Megacles: A Test of Democracy with a special broadcast on Sunday, April 28 at 8 PM on Lakeshore Public Media. A part of the NHM Trial Series, this debate was originally held at the Rubloff Auditorium in Chicago on March 1, 2018. Moderated by WGN’s Andrea Darlas, the Trial featured prominent lawyers and judges arguing and presiding over the case and allowed the audience to serve as citizens and cast their votes once the arguments had been heard.
The trial dates back to ancient Athens in 632 BCE when Megacles, a leader of Athens, was tried for the murder of Olympic champion Cylon. After Cylon and his followers led an unsuccessful coup against the fledgling democracy, they sought sanctuary in the Temple of Athena. Megacles assured Cylon that he would receive a fair and just trial and his life would be spared if he left the refuge of the temple. After Cylon and his followers emerged from the temple, Megacles then ordered their deaths, contradicting his word. The trial explores the concept of democracy and where the line is drawn in the name of protecting that governmental ideal.
The case was presided by a judiciary panel consisting of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William J. Bauer, US District Judge Charles P. Kocoras, Cook County Circuit Judge Anna H. Demacopoulos and US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman.
Prosecutors in this courtroom drama included former US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Patrick M. Collins of King & Spalding. The defense was composed of attorneys including Robert A. Clifford of Clifford Law Offices and Tinos Diamantatos of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Christina Faklis Adair of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office examined the expert witness Dr. Katherine Kelaidis of DePaul University.
Historically punished for his lies and violation of the sanctity of supplicants, Megacles and his entire family were cast out of Athens for six generations and, according to legend, marked with a curse. In the live debate of The NHM Trial of Megacles: A Test of Democracy, audiences cast their vote as to whether Megacles was guilty or not guilty by placing a voting chip for or against as they did in ancient Athens, ultimately deeming Megacles guilty in agreement with an 11 to 1 vote among the jury.
The notable community leaders and public figures that served as the distinguished jury for this re-trial included Cynthia Photos Abbot, Vice President & General Counsel, WBEZ, Chicago Public Media; University of Illinois at Chicago Chancellor Dr. Michael D. Amiridis; Cook County Public Administrator Hon. Louis G. Apostol; George Apostolides, Partner & Vice Chair National Litigation, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP; Lori D. Barcliff Baptista, Ph.D., African-American Cultural Center Director, University of Illinois at Chicago; WGN Host Anna Davlantes; Illinois State Rep. and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin; Calamos Wealth Management Sr. Vice President Anita Knotts; Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anthony C. Kyriakopoulos; Thomas G. Massouras, Trial Attorney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Office of Regional Counsel; Chicago Tribune Columnist Heidi Stevens; and Lorien Yonker, Research Associate, The Art Institute of Chicago Dept. of Ancient and Byzantine Art.
“We are excited that Lakeshore Public Media will be broadcasting what was a tremendous, lively trial,” said National Hellenic Museum President Dr. Laura Calamos. “We’re able to provide a rare experience for people to witness top legal minds arguing in real time. Now, viewers will have the chance to experience the invigorating debate and decide for themselves.”
The NHM Trial Series has become a cultural staple in Chicago and highly-regarded as a must-attend intellectual event. 2016’s Trial of Antigone was broadcast on WTTW-TV (PBS Chicago) and nominated for a regional Emmy. The Trial of Parthenon Marbles, hosted by NHM in 2017, sold-out and was attended by over 700 community members.
More information is available online: www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org or by phone: 312-655-1234.