RT talks to woman who faces 1yr in jail for laughing at Sessions’ AG nomination hearing (EXCLUSIVE)
A Washington jury has convicted a Code Pink activist of disorderly conduct after she laughed in a Senate confirmation hearing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She was also charged with “parading,” combined charges that could result in 12 months in jail.
The jury’s conviction of 61-year-old Desiree Fairooz was announced Wednesday.
“Our jury found me guilty of each count, and each count carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison,” Fairooz told RT. “I have been judged not on the initial laughter, but that was why I was removed.”
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
Fairooz said Sessions had already entered the Senate hearing room in January, where she, along with other members of Code Pink, were dressed as Lady Liberty in pink togas, with foam tiaras that said Code Pink, were holding plastic torches “reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty.”
“At the time of my arrest, we were seated, the hearing had begun, and Senator Richard Shelby (R, Alabama) was tasked with making compliments about Senator Sessions, and one of them seemed ridiculous to me and I involuntarily laughed,” Fairooz said.
What caused the laughter was Shelby’s assertion that Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” history of “treating all Americans equally under the law.”
Twitter Fury: AG Sessions dismisses Hawaii ‘as island in Pacific', gets slammed by social media users https://t.co/M0A8NzOPbN— RT America (@RT_America) April 21, 2017
In 1986, Sessions had been denied a federal justice post because of a history of racially charged remarks. Senate Shelby had even campaigned himself against Sessions by running an ad campaign that suggested Sessions was a Ku Klux Klan sympathizer.
Fairooz said it was a small laugh, more like a chortle, but it was enough to prompt a Capitol police officer to come over to her.
“I expected her to say, ‘Ma’am, please lower your voice,’ when unexpectedly she told me I was being ejected, and I needed to come with her,” Fairooz said.
WATCH LIVE: Senate holds confirmation hearings for Trump’s Cabinet choices https://t.co/8aSPevQYPE— RT America (@RT_America) January 10, 2017
During her trial, however, prosecutors said she "let out a loud burst of laughter, followed by a second, louder burst."
Fairooz said three other police officers joined the first one and started to move her out of the Senate hearing, at which point she started protesting.
“Why am I being taken out of here?” she asked as she was arrested. “This man is pure evil. Don’t vote for Sessions. I was going to be quiet, and now you’re going to have me arrested? For what?”
Police booked her, along with two other protesters, and she was later charged by the government with “disorderly and disruptive conduct” for her laugh, as well as second charge for “parading, demonstrating, or picketing within the Capitol,” as she was being led out.
“I didn’t think it was fair. It was unjust. I was there as a citizen and should have been allowed to remain,” Fairooz told RT.
Fairooz said the Senate officials’ initial reason for ejecting her was the laughter and it was when Capitol police dragged her out of the room that they “paraded me.”
“It does show us that this is very subjective to the sentiments of the people on the jury, and the judge, and the capitol police, because have attended many meetings, stood up, held signs for the entire hearing, and have the person in charge of the hearing totally ignore us,” Fairooz remarked to RT.
She said it is usually someone in a supervisory role that makes the decision for an arrest.
“We are concerned with Jeffrey Sessions as our Attorney General, the government may take difficult steps to subvert our freedoms of speech and assembly. We are concerned about those rights,” she added.
Fairooz is a well-known face on Capitol Hill.
She was charged with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer in 2007 after she waved blood-colored hands in then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's face at a congressional hearing and shouted "war criminal" in protest against the US intervention in Iraq.
Fairooz, along with two other protesters, faces up to 12 months in jail, $2,000 fines or both.