Justice Dept drops case against woman who laughed at Sessions
The Justice Department is dropping its case against a woman who laughed during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’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 Shelby (R-Ala.) said during the hearing that Sessions’s track record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”
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.”
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