Activists face jail term for laughing at Trump’s nominee

Protester Desiree Ali-Fairooz, center, holds a sign at the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to become attorney general on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 10, 2017. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters file

A 61-year-old activist Desiree Ali-Fairooz and two others have been convicted by a Washington jury for laughing and being disruptive during the confirmation of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The trio were also convicted of demonstrating on US Capitol grounds during the hearing of President Donald Trump’s nominee on January 10 and they could all be jailed if found guilty.

Fairooz, a member of the Code Pink activist group, let out a sound that court documents referred to as laughter when a senator said during the hearing that Sessions had a record of “treating all Americans equally under the law”.

The New York Times reported that in a filing, prosecutors said she “let out a loud burst of laughter, followed by a second louder burst”.

According to prosecutors, when police tried to escort Fairooz from the room, she “grew loud and more disruptive, eventually halting the confirmation hearing”.

Reacting to the verdicts by the Washington jury, Code Pink said Fairooz, who attended the hearing dressed as the Statue of Liberty in pink, “emitted a reflexive gasp”.

The statement said the activist described the noise as “spontaneous” and “an immediate rejection of what I considered an outright lie or pure ignorance”.

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