Code Pink protesters convicted of disrupting Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing

Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz was convicted Wednesday on two counts stemming from her behavior at Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing in January. The New York Times reported the verdict but minimized the extent of the interruption Fairooz caused:


A jury on Wednesday convicted three Code Pink activists on charges related to a protest at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general — including a Virginia woman who said all she did was break out in laughter…

It was early in the hearing when Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, said that Mr. Sessions’s record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” Ariel Gold, the campaign director of Code Pink, said on Wednesday.

Ms. Fairooz said that, on hearing that, she let out a giggle.

The actual disruption was much more than her initial “giggle.” When police asked her to leave, Fairooz shouted waved a sign as she was escorted out. “Why am I being taken out of here?” Fairooz yelled. She continued, “This man is evil, pure evil. Do not vote for Jeff Sessions.” Fairooz then held up a sign reading “Support civil rights, stop Sessions.” Here’s a clip showing her exit actually disrupted the hearing:

Contrary to the NY Times emphasis on her laugh, HuffPost spoke to jurors in the case who said she wasn’t convicted because of the initial outburst (the laugh) but because of how she responded when officers asked her to leave:

“She did not get convicted for laughing. It was her actions as she was being asked to leave,” the jury foreperson said…

“Ms. Fairooz’s comments as she was being escorted out caused the session to stop,” the jury foreperson said. “It disrupted the session.”


After the verdict, Fairooz told HuffPost she was “surprised” and “disappointed” by the jury’s decision. She said she had never intended to be arrested when she went to Capitol Hill back in January.

Two other code pink activists were also convicted today. Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi were dressed as KKK members at the hearing and stood up just before it began. Because their disruption happened before the hearing started they were convicted on two out of three counts. They can be seen at the beginning of this clip:

According to the NY Times, all three protesters rejected plea deals and demanded a trial. They could now face jail time when they are sentenced in June, though HuffPost describes that outcome as “probably unlikely.”

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David Strom 5:21 PM on September 22, 2023