Saturday, May 6, 2017

Convicted for laughing at Sessions

“Another protester escorted out of Sessions hearing. Her original offense appeared to be simply laughing.” — Ryan J. Reilly, senior justice reporter for the Huffington Post 

TO ANY of you who might have doubted my premise when I wrote Fascism: Welcome to America, read this post. A women in these United States, Desiree Fairooz, has been arrested and convicted of disorderly and disruptive conduct because she laughed during Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearings for US Attorney General. Two other women were also arrested. They each could be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail or fined $2000 or both.


I am not making this up. I wish I were. Below, find an article from The New York Times.



Officers leading Ms. Fairooz out of the hearing. Credit Alex Brandon/Associated Press

A Code Pink Protester Laughs Over a Trump Nominee and Is Convicted


By Christopher Mele 

May 3, 2017

A jury on Wednesday convicted three Code Pink activists on charges related to a protest at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general — including a Virginia woman who said all she did was break out in laughter.


Each of the three protesters faces up to 12 months in jail, $2,000 in fines, or both, depending on the outcome of a June 21 sentencing hearing.


The woman with the laugh, Desiree A. Fairooz, 61, of Bluemont, Va., said she was undeterred. “We’ll face the music when we get to that,” she said.


A two-day trial in District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington ended on Tuesday. All three had pleaded not guilty, rejected a plea deal and demanded the trial.


In verdicts returned shortly after noon Wednesday, the jury also convicted two other activists in the group she was with, Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, who were dressed as Ku Klux Klan members with white hoods and robes and stood up before the Jan. 10 hearing started.


In an April court filing, the office of the United States attorney for the District of Columbia had argued that all three protesters shared a common goal to “impede and disrupt” the hearing. Ms. Fairooz, the office said, had “created a scene.”


It was early in the hearing when Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, said that Mr. Sessions’s record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” Ariel Gold, the campaign director of Code Pink, said on Wednesday.


Ms. Fairooz said that, on hearing that, she let out a giggle.


“I just couldn’t hold it,” she said on Wednesday. “It was spontaneous. It was an immediate rejection of what I considered an outright lie or pure ignorance.”


She said when officers came over, she expected to be warned or told to shush and was surprised to be taken into custody.


Prosecutors described her actions differently.


Ms. Fairooz had “let out a loud burst of laughter, followed by a second louder burst of laughter,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in the filing. The police then tried to “quietly escort” Ms. Fairooz from the room, but she “grew loud and more disruptive, eventually halting the confirmation hearing,” the court papers argued.


As she was escorted away, Ms. Fairooz loudly asked, “Why am I being taken out of here?” She also said that the nominee’s “voting record is evil.”


The Sessions nomination was contentious. Pointing to past statements he had made, critics asserted that he was a racist, among other things.


Ms. Gold, who was at the hearing, described the noise Ms. Fairooz made as a “reflexive gasp” that was no more loud than a cough. “I would barely call it a laugh,” she said.


Ms. Fairooz said the noise was not intended to disrupt the hearing, which had formally been called to order.


“None of us planned to get arrested,” said Ms. Fairooz, who attended the hearing dressed in pink as Lady Liberty and carrying a sign. “We just wanted to be a visible symbol of dissent.”


Ms. Fairooz was found guilty of the two charges she faced: one of disorderly and disruptive conduct and a charge of parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds, according to her lawyer, Samuel A. Bogash.


Mr. Barry and Mr. Bianchi were acquitted on a count of disorderly conduct but were convicted on two separate charges of parading or demonstrating, Mr. Barry said.


Ms. Fairooz said she was “really disappointed” by the verdict. She said Mr. Bogash would file post-trial motions seeking to set the verdict aside. She said it was too early to discuss an appeal. She also said she would continue to protest the Trump administration.


“I’m so disgusted with so many different aspects of our current government,” she said.


Niraj Chokshi contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

1 comment:

  1. Speechless. And we all will be before long. The Thought Police are forming.

    ReplyDelete