Justice Department pushes judge to give jail time to woman convicted of laughing at AG Sessions
A woman who was convicted for laughing at Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing will learn her fate this week after Justice Department prosecutors asked a judge to uphold a guilty verdict handed down last month.
On June 22, Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz was convicted by a jury trial of “disorderly or disruptive conduct” and picketing on Capitol grounds after she laughed at Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) assertion that Sessions has a record ““treating all Americans equally under the law.”
A lawyer for Fairooz asked Judge Robert Morin, Chief Justice District of Columbia Superior Court, to toss out the jury’s verdict, arguing it’s not proven that her conduct disrupted the hearing.
Jurors who reached the guilty verdict told Huffington Post it was Fairooz’s behavior after the arrest that resulted in the conviction, but the woman’s lawyer insists she should not be convicted for asking the officer to explain the reason behind her detention. “We did not agree that she should have been removed for laughing,” the jury foreman told the Post.
In court filings, Justice Department attorneys argued the jury “could reasonably infer that the laugh was a deliberate disruption,” and asked the judge to uphold the verdict.
“The jury could infer from testimony and video evidence about the laugh and Fairooz’s subsequent conduct that her laugh was an intentional, loud statement of disagreement,” prosecutors wrote. “The jury could have considered that upon being removed, Fairooz had a sign at the ready and loudly proclaimed and demonstrated her views. The jury then could reasonably view the resulting disruption as both an intentional and foreseeable result of the defendant’s course of conduct.”
Fairooz faces up to a year in prison for her outburst.
Watch video of her removal below, via Twitter:
Another protester escorted out of Sessions hearing. Her original offense appeared to be simply laughing. pic.twitter.com/p6lWzBVFRW
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) January 10, 2017