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Woman convicted for laughing at Trump nominee Sessions gets new trial

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A U.S. peace activist found guilty of laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing early this year had her conviction thrown out on Friday and will be retried, her lawyer said.

Desiree Fairooz, 61, a member of the anti-war group Code Pink, was arrested for laughing during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January in response to a lawmaker’s assertion that Sessions, then a Republican U.S. senator from Alabama, treated all Americans equally.

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Fairooz, a children’s librarian, shouted, “This man is evil, pure evil” as police led her out. A jury found Fairooz guilty in May of disrupting a session of Congress and demonstrating on Capitol grounds. She had been due to be sentenced on Friday.

But Chief Judge Robert Morin of the District of Columbia Superior Court overturned the guilty verdict and ordered a new trial. In his ruling, Morin said it was unclear whether Fairooz had been convicted for laughter or for speaking out as she was removed, her lawyer, Samuel Bogash, said by telephone.

“The government’s position was that laughing alone was enough to convict. But the judge made it clear that he didn’t think it was,” Morin said.

Code Pink, which often stages protests against politicians, said on its Facebook page that Fairooz denounced a retrial as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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“The only thing more ridiculous than being tried for laughing, is being tried twice for laughing,” Code Pink quoted her as saying.

Morin did not set a trial date and scheduled a status hearing for Sept. 1. Fairooz had faced up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for each of her two convictions.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said two other Code Pink activists who were convicted for disrupting the hearing, Lenny Bianchi and Tighe Barry, were sentenced to 10 days in jail.

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The sentences were suspended on condition that Barry and Bianchi complete six months of unsupervised probation, he said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Leslie Adler)


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Purdue files for bankruptcy in bid to settle opioid crisis cases

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Purdue Pharma has filed for bankruptcy in a settlement agreement that it hopes will provide more than $10 billion to address the opioid crisis, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

The pharmaceutical giant whose prescription painkiller OxyContin is blamed for much of the US opioid addiction epidemic, is facing thousands of state and federal lawsuits.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, will contribute Purdue's entire value to a body established for the benefit of the claimants and the American people.

Purdue Chairman Steve Miller said the proposals will "provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis."

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US hints at military response to Saudi attacks as oil prices surge

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Oil prices made their biggest jump since the Gulf War on Monday after President Donald Trump warned that the US was "locked and loaded" to respond to attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington blamed on Iran.

It is the first time the president has hinted at a potential American military response to the drone attacks, which slashed Saudi oil production by half and led both the kingdom and the United States to announce they may tap their strategic reserves.

"Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump tweeted.

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Robert De Niro said Alec Baldwin is so good at playing Donald Trump he wants to punch them both in the face

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Legendary actor and Donald Trump foe Robert De Niro waited patiently as roasters bashed him before they went after Alec Baldwin. De Niro was mocked mostly for his age. But it was De Niro who had the last laugh.

When it was his turn to bring the funny, De Niro asked simply, "what the f*ck am I doing here?"

"This is like that Moscow hotel room where a bunch of whores pissed all over Donald Trump," he recalled.

When it came time to bash Caitlyn Jenner, De Niro said that there was something off about her, but he couldn't "put his finger in it."

"Yes, you can!" she encouraged.

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