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Schladebeck writes: "A D.C. judge tossed the jury's conviction of a 61-year-old protester who laughed during Attorney General Jeff Sessions Senate Confirmation hearing."

Protesters hold signs at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for U.S. senator Jeff Sessions. (photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Protesters hold signs at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for U.S. senator Jeff Sessions. (photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)


Judge Tosses Conviction of Female Protester Who Laughed During Jeff Sessions' Senate Hearing

By Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News

14 July 17

 

D.C. judge tossed the jury’s conviction of a 61-year-old protester who laughed during Attorney General Jeff Sessions Senate Confirmation hearing.

Chief Judge E. Robert Morin of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia dismissed the guilty verdict on the grounds that the government made improper arguments during the trial of Desiree Fairooz, the Huffington Post reported.

The Code Pink protester was arrested for "disorderly and disruptive conduct" in January after laughing at an Alabama senator, who testified Sessions had a reputation for "treating all Americans equally under law."

Fairooz along with two other protesters, Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, who dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members for the hearing, faced up to a year in prison.

Morin said it was “disconcerting” that the government in closing arguments said Fairooz’s laughter alone was enough for a conviction.

“The court is concerned about the government’s theory,” he said, adding the laughter "would not be sufficient" to submit the case to a jury.

Jurors previously told the news outlet it was Fairooz's behavior following her arrest that pushed them toward a guilty verdict.

"She did not get convicted for laughing," the jury foreperson told HuffPost at the time. "It was her actions as she was being asked to leave."

Fairooz in videos of her arrest can be seen shouting out in protest as she's escorted from the room by Capitol Police.

"Why am I being taken out of here? This man is evil!" she said of Sessions. "You're evil! Do not vote for Jeff Sessions! I was gonna be quite, now you're gonna have me arrested? For what, what for?"

Sessions federal judgeship nomination was rejected after he was accused of racial discrimination in the 1980s.

Fairooz's attorney ahead of the sentencing Friday, requested the jury verdict be tossed.

"Ms. Fairooz's brief reflexive burst of noise, be it laughter or an audible gasp, clearly cannot sustain a conviction for either of the counts in the information," defense lawyer Sam Bogash wrote in a court filing. "So the only other basis for her conviction to anything are her statements after the U.S. Capitol Police arrested her for that laughing. Those statements merely expressed surprise at being arrested."

Prosecutors pushed back however, claiming jurors "could reasonably infer that the laugh was a deliberate disruption" and "intentional," according to the Huffington Post.

Morin set a new trial date for Sept. 1.

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+8 # Jaax88 2017-07-14 23:31
Nothing more than common sense, but wrapped in the law as it should be.
 
 
+17 # tedrey 2017-07-15 03:33
How do we prosecute the prosecutors?
 
 
+27 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-07-15 07:56
This case is an epitome of tyrannical oppression. When laughter at a preposterous act is illegal, nothing is legal.
 
 
+3 # Texas Aggie 2017-07-15 08:38
The official republican excuse for Uday meeting with the Russians to get opposition dirt on Clinton is that anyone would have done it. So if that is true, how much more true is it that everyone would have ROFLMAO at the statement that Sessions has a reputation of "treating all Americans equally under law."

You can't excuse Uday without totally excusing Ms. Fairooz.
 
 
0 # ReconFire 2017-07-15 11:26
Don't get too excited, the judge through this case out on a legal technicality. Not constitutional reasons.
 
 
+8 # tedrey 2017-07-16 05:33
It never should have gotten before a judge--for constitutional and for common sense reasons.
 
 
+10 # chapdrum 2017-07-15 14:23
This is a textbook example of a frivolous lawsuit. We can expect more in Trumplandia.
 

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