woman prosecuted for laughing

SS the Showstopper
By SS the Showstopper

A woman prosecuted for laughing at Alabama attorney general Jeff Sessions during a confirmation hearing could face up to a year in jail.

 The woman prosecuted by The Justice Department is Desiree Fairooz for “disorderly and disruptive conduct” and for “parading, demonstrating, or picketing within the Capitol.” She, along with two other protesters, were arrested and charged.

On Wednesday, a jury convicted a 61-year-old female activist who had laughed during Sessions’s January confirmation hearing in the Senate. Desiree Fairooz, the woman prosecuted, who was a longtime protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink, had been escorted out of the room for laughing in response to Senator Richard Shelby’s assertion that Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” history of “treating all Americans equally under the law.”

 

(Sessions had, in fact, been denied a federal judgeship in 1986 because of a history of racially charged remarks, and Shelby himself had once run a campaign ad suggesting that Sessions was a Klan sympathizer.) Fairooz, along with two other protesters, faces up to a year in prison.
It is reported that Fairooz’s laugh was not disruptive to the hearing and did not interrupt Shelby’s speech. But Fairooz was arrested by a rookie Capitol police officer on her second week on the job who, according to Reilly, “had never conducted an arrest before nor worked at a congressional hearing.”

 

“Why am I being taken out of here?” she asked as she was arrested. “I was going to be quiet, and now you’re going to have me arrested? For what?” Fairooz asked.

She was later charged by the government with “disorderly and disruptive conduct” for her laugh, as well as a second charge for “parading, demonstrating, or picketing within the Capitol” as she was being led out.

Fairooz has protested at several congressional hearings, and likely knows the difference between being intentionally disruptive and respectful of decorum.

During Fairooz’s trial on Monday, fellow Code Pink activist Ariel Gold testified that Fairooz was reflexively laughing in response to Sessions’s claims, and that she was “appalled” when Fairooz was arrested. Coronado, on the other hand, said she did not think Shelby’s statement was funny enough to warrant a laugh and noted that Fairooz was laughing “very loudly”—enough for people to turn their heads and look at her.

Fairooz was convicted along with Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, who both dressed as K.K.K. members to protest Sessions and had been charged with breaking Senate rules

 

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