Woman Prosecuted for Laughing at Jeff Sessions During Confirmation Hearing
Jeff Sessions is nothing to LOL at, prosecutors say.
Desiree Fairooz had a hearty LOL during Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing to be attorney general. Now she's facing misdemeanor charges for "disorderly and disruptive conduct," HuffPost reported Tuesday.
Fairooz is on trial this week in D.C. Superior Court after being arrested by U.S. Capitol Police during the Jan. 10 confirmation hearing for Sessions. Fairooz, an activist with the anti-war protest group Code Pink, burst out laughing when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said Sessions' record of "treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented."
Fairooz was seated in the back of the room, and her laugh did not interrupt Shelby's introductory speech. But, according to the government, the laugh amounted to willful "disorderly and disruptive conduct" intended to "impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct" of congressional proceedings. The government also charged her with a separate misdemeanor for allegedly parading, demonstrating or picketing within a Capitol, evidently for her actions after she was being escorted from the room.
Jason Covert, one of the assistant U.S. attorneys trying the case, asked Officer Coronado on Monday whether the laughter was "loud enough to draw your attention" or if she recalled "seeing other people turning around." Coronado claimed she had seen other people turn around and later said Fairooz had been laughing "very loudly."
HuffPost reported an assistant U.S. attorney even asked the police officer who arrested Fairooz if she thought Shelby's comments were humorous. (The officer said they were not.)
Fairooz said in a statement on Code Pink's website that it was her "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 Ku Klux Klan."
Two other protesters who interrupted the hearings dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes are also on trial with Fairooz.
Code Pink has been interrupting hearings on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, and their members have been arrested numerous times. Being prosecuted for allegedly laughing in an inappropriate manner, however, would be a new one. And not a great look for a notoriously thin-skinned administration.
The U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Columbia could not be immediately reached for comment.