It’s no laughing matter.
On Wednesday in Washington, a woman who police arrested for laughing out loud during January’s confirmation hearing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions was convicted of “disorderly and disruptive conduct” that was intended to "impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct" of congressional proceedings.
Desiree A. Fairooz, 61, of Bluemont, VA, could be fined up to $2,000 and jailed for up to six months when she’s sentenced next month.
“We’ll face the music when we get to that,” Fairooz told the New York Times. In the meantime, she plans to appeal the verdict, she said.
Fairooz is active in the protest group Code Pink and came to the Sessions hearing dressed as Lady Liberty. She told reporters she had no intention of creating a scene but that when Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, declared that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” she couldn’t suppress a laugh.
The outburst, if you can call it that, did not interrupt the hearing. But it attracted the attention of Capitol Police, two of whom quickly moved in, picked Fairooz up by her arms and took her out of the hearing room. She complained about that, loudly, an outburst that the jury foreperson said led the panel to convict her.
“We did not agree that she should have been removed for laughing,” the foreperson told the Huffington Post. The law is so broad “There’s almost no way that you can find them not guilty,” another juror said.
Well maybe. But while jurors may feel they had no choice, the cops certainly did. So did the Justice Department prosecutors who took this turkey of a case to court and now report - indirectly - to Sessions. Surely they, to say nothing of the judge and jury, have more important things to do
Protests far more disruptive than Fairooz’s giggle are routine at the Capitol and the police there have a reputation for tolerating them, so long as whatever proceeding is underway continues unimpeded. If arrests like Fairooz’s become routine, the rest of us will have something else to raise Hell about.
Office: Common Cause National