Code Pink activists convicted for disrupting Sessions’s confirmation hearing

Lydia Wheeler

A jury convicted three Code Pink activists on Wednesday for disrupting Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s confirmation hearing earlier this year, including one who apparently laughed during the hearing.

Desiree Fairooz, who dressed up as a pink version of Lady Liberty, was found guilty on charges of parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct, The New York Times reported.

Two other Code Pink activists, Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, were reportedly acquitted on a count of disorderly conduct but were convicted on two separate charges of parading or demonstrating during the hearing.


Both men dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members, wearing white hooded robes, and stood up before the hearing started in early January.

All three activists could face up to a year in prison, the Times reported.

Fairooz told the Times she was “really disappointed” by the jury’s decision after a two-day trail in the U.S. Superior Court in Washington. She said it is too early to talk about an appeal, but her attorney plans to file post-trial motions to set the verdict aside. 

“We’ll face that music when we get to that,” Fairooz said.

She reportedly plans to continue protesting because she is “so disgusted with so many different aspects of our current government.”

Fairooz said when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Sessions’s record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented” early in the hearing, she couldn’t help but laugh. 

“I just couldn’t hold it,” she told the newspaper. “It was spontaneous. It was an immediate rejection of what I considered an outright lie or pure ignorance.”

Fairooz told the newspaper she expected a warning to be quiet after she laughed, rather than being taken into custody.

“None of us planned to get arrested,” she said. “We just wanted to be a visible symbol of dissent.”

“It’s absolutely absurd and a travesty,” a Code Pink spokeswoman said Wednesday night in response to the jury’s decision. “Convicting someone for laughing in court makes a mockery of our free speech rights and justice system. Code Pink will continue to speak out and yes, laugh, when our elected officials lie to us.”

The nomination of Sessions was contentious, with critics asserting that some of his past comments signaled he was a racist. 

All of the Code Pink activists pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, rejecting a plea deal and demanding a trial.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington didn’t immediately comment for the Times report.

Tags Code Pink Jeff Sessions

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