Woman Who Laughed At Sessions' Hearing Faces Jail Time

Woman Who Laughed At Sessions' Hearing Faces Jail Time

A woman who laughed out loud during one of Jeff Session’s confirmation hearings has been convicted by a Washington jury. Desiree Fairooz, an activist with the left-leaning NGO Code Pink, was found guilty of “disorderly and disruptive conduct” with the intent to disrupt congressional proceedings, as well as “parading, demonstrating or picketing.”

The charges stem from the hearing on Jan 10, when Sessions’ colleague, fellow Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby, started discussing Sessions’ “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law.” If you weren’t listening closely, you’d have missed Fairooz’s chuckles about 0:45 mark in the video of the hearing. Even those sitting near her during the hearing said her laugh- described more as a cough or gasp by witnesses- was so inaudible they couldn’t tell what it was at first. According to the prosecutor though, Fairooz “grew loud and more disruptive” as an officer attempted to remove her from the room.

“Her disruptive behaviour included yelling that Senator Sessions’ ‘voting record was evil’ and waving a sign that read: ‘Support civil rights, stop Sessions,’” argued the prosecution. It was compelling enough for the jury to convict her in the District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington. So now Virginia native Fairooz, alongside fellow activists Lenny Bianchi and Tighe Barry, are facing up to $2,000 in fines, 12 months in prison, or both. Bianchi and Barry, members of Code Pink as well, dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members to highlight Sessions’ racist history.

“My performance at the hearing was a parody, but the real joke has become the US Justice Department,” Barry says, “To say that I was appalled that Jeff Sessions was about to become the highest legal authority in our country is an understatement.”

“I felt it was my responsibility as a citizen to dissent at the confirmation hearing of Senator Jeff Sessions, a man who professes anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT policies, who has voted against several civil rights measures and who jokes about the white supremacist terrorist group the KKK,” Fairooz explained in a statement.