An activist was convicted Wednesday on criminal misdemeanor charges for laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing.
Desiree Fairooz, 61, a long-time member of activist group Code Pink, was arrested on January 10 during the hearing’s opening statements. Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, also members of Code Pink , who were dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan as commentary on what Code Pink describes as Sessions’ racist past, were also arrested for causing a disruption. Barry and Bianchi were escorted out of the Kennedy Caucus Room and arrested first.
Less than 30 minutes after the two men were removed from the room, Fairooz was removed and arrested, according to a government motion. Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby testified during his opening statement that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” and it was following this remark that Fairooz is alleged to have let out a laugh. The government motion describes two bouts of laughter.
“In response to this statement, Defendant Fairooz, who had been sitting with Defendants Barry and Bianchi before their disruption and removal, let out aloud burst of laughter, followed by a second louder burst of laughter,” the document reads.
But Ariel Gold, campaign director for Code Pink who was sitting near Fairooz in the Kennedy Caucus Room, told NBC News that the noise was less than a cough. “I would describe it as a reflex. It was such an appalling statement for Senator Shelby to make … this is such an absurdity that Mr. Sessions has a record of treating Americans equally, that she just reflexively let out a noise,” Gold said. “I was sitting about two people away, and I would say the noise was quieter than a cough.”