FEATURED:

Justice Dept drops case against woman who laughed at Sessions

Justice Dept drops case against woman who laughed at Sessions
© Greg Nash

The Justice Department is dropping its case against a woman who laughed during Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law New immigration policy leaves asylum seekers in the lurch MORE's confirmation hearing earlier this year, according to a court filing.

The nolle prosequi filing, obtained by HuffPost, means that the government will dismiss the charges against Desiree Fairooz, an activist affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink, who was arrested in January for laughing during Sessions's confirmation hearing. 

Fairooz reportedly chuckled after Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyCornyn: We'll need at least one more stopgap funding bill Moore supporters fire back at Richard Shelby Disaster aid becomes hostage to funding fight MORE (R-Ala.) said during the hearing that Sessions's track record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Sessions's nomination to be the nation's top law enforcement official drew criticism from civil rights activists, who argued that he has a history of racist statements and would not apply the law equally as attorney general.

Fairooz was convicted on the charges in May, but a judge overturned the conviction in July and ordered a retrial, arguing it was "disconcerting" that Justice Department prosecutors argued that laughter alone was enough to merit a conviction.

A federal prosecutor said in September that the Justice Department intended to put Fairooz back on trial after she rejected a plea deal. The nolle prosequi filing this week, however, indicated that the government would drop the case.

“The last 10 months of my life have been somewhat stressful facing trial and the possibility of jail time and a criminal conviction for a chortle so I am greatly relieved that I will not stand trial again,” Fairooz said in a statement to HuffPost.

“As activists, we cannot be deterred from speaking out against injustice, standing up for our constitutional rights and yes, laughing.”