The Slatest

Protester Convicted of Crime for Laughing Out Loud During Jeff Sessions Hearing

A jury in Washington has convicted a 61-year-old protester named Desiree Fairooz of disorderly conduct and “parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds” because she laughed out loud during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing. Fairooz could be sentenced to up to a year in prison.

The protest group of which Fairooz is a part, Code Pink, is a frequent presence at high-profile congressional hearings. While the group’s actions are often disruptive, Fairooz’s laughter—which you can watch above—lasted only for a moment and appears to have gone largely unnoticed. HuffPost reported Tuesday that the police officer who arrested Fairooz was newly hired and had never before made an arrest or worked at a congressional hearing.

Fairooz was reacting to Republican Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby’s claim that Sessions’ “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.” (Sessions has a long history of hostility toward civil rights activism and has often expressed support for segregationist and white-nationalist viewpoints.)

Update, 4:40 p.m.: HuffPo’s Ryan Reilly spoke to jurors in Fairooz’s case, some of whom said that they did not believe she should have been arrested for laughing but that her shouted comments while being dragged away constituted disruptive conduct. (Per Reilly prosecutors claim that the laugh alone would also have been enough to merit criminal charges.)