Woman on trial for laughing during Sessions' hearing

Activist Desiree Fairooz was arrested in January

Woman on trial for laughing during Sessions' hearing

Jeff Sessions. Picture by Carolyn Kaster AP/Press Association Images

The US Department of Justice is literally prosecuting a woman for laughing at now–Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year.

According to a report from Huffington Post, Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz (61) was arrested in January after she laughed at a claim from Senator Richard Shelby that Sessions’s history of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”


Federal prosecutors argued that “the laugh amounted to willful ‘disorderly and disruptive conduct’ intended to ‘impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct’ of congressional proceedings.”

In court, they have tried to emphasise that the laugh was extraordinarily disruptive, with a US Capitol Police officer claiming that Fairooz laughed “very loudly” and people in the hearings turned around when they heard it.

Fairooz’s defense argued that her laughter was a reflex and not meant to disrupt the hearings. Fairooz was also in the back of the room, and her laughter had no noticeable impact, based on video of the hearings, on Shelby’s introductory speech for Sessions.

The trial will continue at the Superior Court in DC this week. If convicted, Fairooz faces a fine up to $500 and up to six months’ imprisonment for the charge.

She is also charged with another misdemeanor for “allegedly parading, demonstrating or picketing within a Capitol, evidently for her actions after she was being escorted from the room,” according to the report.