On Friday, a D.C judge threw out the conviction of a protester who was jailed for laughing during Jeff Session’s Senate confirmation hearing.
In the incident, 61-year-old Desiree Fairooz was arrested, charged and convicted of disorderly and disruptive conduct inside the Capitol. Fairooz giggled during Sessions’ hearing after Sen. Richard Shelby said Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” record of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” As a result, Fairooz was convicted, facing up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
Two months later, a judge tossed the conviction.
According to reports, in the decision, the judge said the government improperly argued that the woman’s laughter alone warranted a guilty verdict. Although Fairooz questioned the reason behind her physical removal as she was escorted out, the government focused their argument around the laughter, prompting the judge’s decision.
“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,” the judge 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.”
As a result, the judge threw out the conviction and ordered a new trial set for Sept. 1.