A Virginia woman might be sent to prison because she laughed at Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Yes, you read that correctly.
Desiree A. Fairooz, the woman who laughed, was found guilty on Wednesday of disorderly conduct and parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds. Two other women were also convicted.
Fairooz, 61, was among a group of Code Pink activists protesting Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing in January. She was arrested after giggling out loud during the hearing in response to Republican Senator Richard Shelby’s claim that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”
For her crime of unlawful laughter, Fairooz and her Code Pink associates reportedly face up to 12 months in prison.
As she was being lead out of the chamber, Fairooz yelled that Sessions was “evil, pure evil” and urged lawmakers to reject his nomination.
“I felt it was my responsibility as a citizen to dissent at the confirmation hearing of Senator Jeff Sessions,” Fairooz explained in a pre-trial press release from Code Pink. “A man who professes anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT policies, who has voted against several civil rights measures and who jokes about the white supremacist terrorist group the Ku Klux Klan.”
However, the foreman of the jury that convicted her insisted to the Huffington Post that Fairooz’s crime wasn’t the giggles, but rather how she conducted herself when being taken out of the hearing.
“She did not get convicted for laughing. It was her actions as she was being asked to leave,” the foreperson said. “We did not agree that she should have been removed for laughing.”
Still, considering that a simple chortle was what set the legal wheels in motion, it seems hard to argue that Fairooz would not face a year behind bars had she not found the denial of Session’s racist past worthy of a chuckle.
Sessions’ history as both a senator and federal prosecutor has long been dogged with allegations of racism and prejudice. His nomination to the Justice Department was arguably the most controversial of all President Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments, resulting in a hearing that was punctuated by multiple outbursts and protests.
When asked by the New York Times whether she should appeal the guilty verdict, Fairooz said simply: “We’ll face that music when we get to that.”