New Trial Ordered for Protester at Sessions’ Confirmation Hearing

WASHINGTON (CN) – A Washington judge on Friday ordered a new trial for a woman convicted of two misdemeanors after she laughed during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Desiree Fairooz, an activist who attended the hearing with frequent protest group Code Pink in January, was arrested after laughing when Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., lauded Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law” as “clear and well-documented.”

Fairooz was removed from the hearing room and arrested, though she loudly questioned why police were pulling her from her seat. DC Superior Court Judge Robert Morin said it would be reasonable for her to be prosecuted for these statements but not simply for laughing, according to a Code Pink blog post.

Fairooz’s new trial is set for September, according to Code Pink. Court records show Fairooz will next be before Morin for a status hearing on Sept. 1.

“I would have never spoken out at the hearing if I hadn’t been arrested for laughing and now I am going to be tried again,” Fairooz said in a statement in the Code Pink blog post. “It’s absurd. This is a waste of everyone’s time and a waste of taxpayers [sic] money. The only thing more ridiculous than being tried for laughing is being tried twice for laughing.”

Sessions’ hearing in January centered on old allegations of Sessions making racially insensitive comments, including a joking praise of the KKK, and conducting voter fraud prosecutions that some criticized as racially motivated. The allegations culminated with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis and Sen. Cory Booker testifying against Sessions, a virtually unprecedented opposition from sitting lawmakers.

Two Code Pink activists were sentenced on Friday for disrupting Congress and demonstrating, according to Code Pink. Both will have to pay a $100 fine as well as serve 6 months probation. They were also sentenced to a suspended sentence of 10 days.

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