A judge has overturned the conviction of a woman who prosecutors said disrupted the confirmation hearing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions by laughing

A judge has overturned the conviction of a woman who prosecutors said disrupted the confirmation hearing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions by laughing
A judge has overturned the conviction of a woman who prosecutors said disrupted the confirmation ...

That was the hearing where Jeff Sessions said under oath he had never met with any Russians while campaigning for Trump and then we later found out he was lying and had at least 3 separate meetings he kept secret and lied about for months.

Chief Judge Robert E. Morin of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, however, today "tossed out the guilty verdict because the government had argued that the laugh in and of itself was enough to warrant a guilty verdict,"

The judge said this and then ordered a new trial. She may still end up in jail based on what she was yelling when being removed.

So how many tens of thousands of dollars has this woman spent on attorneys to fight this ridiculous charge? If they don't get you with the jail time, they just drain your bank account.

Senator Franken: "Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?"

Jeff Sessions: "Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it."

Avoiding contractions is a classic 'tell' of someone lying.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

I'll believe it when I see it

She may still end up in jail based on what she was yelling when being removed.

Nah. The charges will get dropped.

the government had argued that the laugh in and of itself was enough to warrant a guilty verdict

Ahh yes must be some of that small government I keep hearing about.

That technically wasn't a lie. That's why charges were brought against him for this, but he wasn't convicted.

The legal definition of sexual relations explicitly referred to vaginal intercourse. The legal definitions of sexual activities are often archaic.

Jeff Sessions is still the attorney general despite having committed perjury. Clearly the rules don't apply to everyone.

Where are all the people who were saying this didn't matter? It does.

She will have to spend more. The judge ordered a new trial. She may still end up in jail based on what she was yelling when being removed. The prosecution just will not refer to the laughing in the new trial.

I'll believe anything you say

LEROY

Good, this was a ridiculous charge to begin with. On the video her laugh is hardly audible at all.

If you look at clips of Franken after this, it's kinda funny how he points out that Sessions didn't answer his question and instead responded in a way that screwed himself.

murica, where laughing, although the 1st amendment, takes you to jail.

the trouble he got in was for the question "is there a relationship between you two?" and he was wondering does is mean "currently?" because if yes, then the answer is no, if is means "was there ever?" then the answer would be yes. He was trying to be obtuse without really lying...

people on reddit will draw authority from a 30 second google search and confidently put out all sorts of claims.

I wonder how much damage Sessions has done to the Keebler cookie brand.

What a wonderful use of taxpayer money. Let's prosecute mild annoyances to the fullest extent of the law.

When has IS ever meant WAS.

No, that's when you're found not guilty and there's another trial anyway. She wasn't found not guilty.

that should not be legal. if the removal was not lawful (ie just for laughing) then the action resulting from that unlawful removal should not be able to be used to expostfacto screw her.

of course our world is far from fair.

We don't allow people to disrupt Congress inside the chambers. The rules apply to everyone, even if you sympathize with them.

Alexander "Plastic Bag With Twist Tie" Washington

Edit: Thanks for the gold, kind stranger. I had no idea there was such a market for plastic bags and twist ties.

Just to frame this a little bit, this group is called Code Pink, and they have been disrupting governmental proceedings since ~2002, including many of Obama's hearings. This is kinda their MO, and their activists have been arrested in the past, although not necessarily every time. For example: "In 2007, for instance, a Code Pink activist was charged with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer and banned from the Capitol premises after she waved her red paint-covered hands inches from the face of then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and shouted "war criminal"."

I have a sibling that works on the hill, and everybody knows who they are, and the meetings just let the Code Pink members yell for a little bit and then peacefully escort them out - from this article: "The group are well known to the Capitol Police, to members of Congress and their staffs, and to the news media who cover them. That they are largely greeted in Washington with eye rolls - or at worst, a night in jail."

Generally speaking, they leave when asked and aren't charged - so long as they leave when asked. However, I'd argue that this one appears to have been more aggressive than usual on the way out: "The government also charged her with a separate misdemeanor for allegedly parading, demonstrating or picketing within a Capitol, evidently for her actions after she was being escorted from the room."

TL;DR: this group is well known, and given that 99 times out of 100 the members of this group aren't charged, leads me to believe this person was trying to get arrested, or at least 2x 'more obnoxious' than normal.

No one is arguing against states' rights, they're arguing against the laughable claim that the Republicans stand for states rights. It's just a hollow rallying cry they use when convenient then put back in the closet.

At least he's got chicken

It's similar to the "states rights" argument you will hear from time to time.

He said the laughter "would not be sufficient" to submit the case to the jury, and said the government hadn't made clear before the trial that it intended to make that argument.

Morin set a new trial date for September 1.

There's video of her making a scene after security tells her to shut up. She's going to be convicted again on September 1.

Nope. This was more a proceedural issue than anything else; to wit, "Morin set a new trial date for September 1." Nothing was outright dismissed.

Additioanlly, the other people arrested were also convicted, which is a pretty good leading indicator:

Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, two protesters tried alongside Fairooz for their actions at the hearing while dressed up as members of the KKK, were sentenced on Friday to 10 days suspension, meaning they likely won’t serve any jail time unless they violate the conditions of their six-month unsupervised probation. Restrictions were placed on their access to Capitol Hill.

Secondly, this part of reddit really sucks - I'm getting downvoted for giving nonpartisan and nonbiased contextualization by people who are pissed b/c I'm not confirming what they a priori want to believe.

I was responding to the comment of playing by the rules. I stand by the Sessions case as a good example of people being above the rules.

This lady IS being punished, a Stark difference from sessions, but the punishment is absurd and a total waste of taxpayer money. She deserves some consequence for her actions- a citation/fine.

Wtf ever came of that? Shouldnt he be on trial for fucking perjury?

That's the same thing that Trump supports say when they are trying to deflect from the crap their side does.

Whether or not Jeff Sessions is guilty of perjury is not relevant to whether this woman is also guilty. By all means, let's prove it if he's guilty of perjury, but it's not an argument in her case.

God damn it, Leroy.

Dems should use this case to get evidence of any collusion between the prosecutor and any politicians. She wouldn't have been charged if some republican didn't ask for it behind closed doors.

charges eventually dropped

sounds like you were protected by the 1st and some overreaching cop decided to fuck with you.

So... Maybe she could have just yelled, "You lie!" That's still okay, isn't it?

Apparently lying your face off at a confirmation hearing is not the type of speech that can. Edit speaks to speech.

No. She cannot be tried again following a valid acquittal or conviction. She was found guilty. The judge threw out the verdict (invalidating the conviction), and ordered a new trial.

They are working on it, though. Give them time.

Went to jail once for a non profane statement to the police regarding an arrest they were making on someone else (charges eventually dropped). 1st amendment only works on the internet and TV

Where are all the people who were saying this didn't matter? It does.

They're waiting for their opinion from Hannity.

She wouldn't have been charged if some republican didn't ask for it behind closed doors.

Possible. But also possible, and perhaps more likely, just some eager beaver up and coming attorney looking for a good resume line come promotion time.

There should never have been charges in the first place. This isn't Russia.

He'd have to be impeached I'm pretty sure and an impeachment hearing isn't gonna happen with a republican congress. Trump's entire administration needs to rot in jail. But they won't.

Oh give the fear mongering a rest... This wasn't done because of the executive branch, there have been rules and laws stating you can't disrupt these types of hearings years before Trump or Sessions were there. The person arrested threw a fit when security asked her to stop laughing, which led to her arrest. Like dam, do people just want to exaggerate things up?

There will be a new trial. Sessions will probably claim that the things she said after the false arrest counts as a crime.

I don't know if Mr. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has the time for that sort of thing right now.

You'd be amazed, and truly mean that, at the kinds of speech that can land you in jail. The 1st amendment is not the protection you think it is.

it probably was far louder and more disruptive than was shown on the video though, because the microphones clearly aren't focused on the crowd (as you can see when she is yelling and it's still barely audible)

still a ridiculous situation, I'm just being pedantic

"Reddit" never switched sides. You're just seeing one opinion becoming slightly more popular. This is a side effect of reddit's upvote/downvote system.

An example: If you have 100 more people who are willing to support the old posts's "clickbait title fake news" comments than the ones will support "the GOP / this administration sucks" comments, then all of the former comments are going to be 100-200pts above the latter, and when you browse the top 5-10 comments you'll just see a bunch of people agreeing. That doesn't mean every redditor believes the article was bullshit, it just means that 100 redditors do. This is exacerbated by the fact that reddit will place some comments with 100's of votes higher than comments with 1000's if the comment with 100's is more unanimous. So even the late-comers who circlejerk correctly will get placed higher than the most popular comments circlejerking the other way.

One of the reasons you should delve deeper into comment sections is so that you can see dissenting opinions that have been crushed by a wave of downvotes. I believe this comment is the first comment that isn't talking about misleading titles. On my screen it's falling below this comment despite having 40x the votes -- that's a good demonstration of the reddit algo's bias towards agreement.

A laugh can be enough to have you removed from the room without being enough to press charges. Just because the laugh isn't sufficient for jail time doesn't mean her removal was unlawful.

charges eventually dropped

"You can beat the rap but you can't beat the ride"

- almost every cop everywhere

I don't have a problem with someone yelling about being unlawfully arrested, as the superior court has essentially just said happened. Her entire outburst stems from the ridiculous and inappropriate attempt to remove her in the first place.

She got arrested for laughing yet none of these repugnant fucks will ever get arrested for their treasonous acts and perjury under oath in front of Congress. How fuck up is our justice system and government???

It depends on what it means to other people. If we went with "is", as you and i obviously understand it, the answer is clearly "no", and saying so actually makes him look better. But the truth is if he did say "no", and a past relationship was discovered, then people would accuse him of lieing.

You assumed the law applies equally to everyone in bourgeois society. It's a pretty rookie mistake, really. Don't beat yourself up over it.

Well, y'see, some animals are more equal than others. He just made an honest mistake when he lied. Boys will be boys.

After some jail time and legal fees I'm sure. You can lose everything by going to jail if you can't make bail.

Based upon the content of her purported yell while being unlawfully arrested? Unless she was yelling an immediate call for violence, that is unlikely to work out. Not that the prosecution won't try. None of this is in good faith. This is the GOP's attempt to silence opposition and chill free speech.

Intentionally falsify a 911 call resulting in a black man shopping in walmart getting killed and a mother dying of a heart attack: a-ok

Laugh: you're under arrest

It's almost like there are double standards based on certain demographic information, and pointing this out makes people really angry!

He's not fully human, but I personally think he's more goblinoid than elven.

In that either one is supported only when it favors their agenda.

But she wasn't charged with resisting arrest. She was charged with disrupting a hearing. Funny how the facts are important.

Regardless, I would still disagree with them going after her for resisting arrest. Cases like this are why we have prosecutorial discretion. This whole thing never should have happened, but some officers on Capitol Hill overreacted to a non-issue, which caused her to overreact; and now we're here.

And, yes, I would say the same thing if it was an Obama or Clinton appointee whose hearing this occurred in too.

States rights get a bad rap, I'm sure you can find a bunch of Tenth Amendment cases where you have sided with the state. For example, do you think a state should be able to enact child labor laws or is that a violation of a 14th amendment freedom of contract.* Not that it's never been used for terrible reasons, it's just upsetting that it's a phrase that's been hijacked been Civil War revisionists when it's a pretty important part of federalism.

*This case took place during a time where it was more strongly recognized that the Constitution provided a freedom to contract.

Edit: as u/tobesure44 pointed out, the idea that the Constitution provides a freedom to contract is no longer recognized and really hasn't been since 1937. If you want to read one of the most famous dissents in SCOTUS history here is Oliver Wendell Holmes's in Lochner v. New York, the original case that held contracts were 14th Amendment liberty interests included contracts.

Real jail, too. Not rich people "jail".

If I recall correctly, the jury members said they convicted based on what she yelled while being removed.

A laugh is not reasonably considered disruption. You know what is? Unexpected and unlawful arrest. She merely responded to provocation.

Out of curiosity are you also troubled at all that at this same hearing Jeff Sessions committed purjury yet faces no consequences? Convicting this woman feels like writing someone up for jay walking while turning a blind eye to the mugging taking place right next door.

the question pertained to events that had happened in the past, at the time was there a relationship, or had you been in a relationship, the problem arises because there WAS a relationship in the past, but during the events listed that were also in the past, there was not a relationship, also does a blowie count as "being in a relationship?". like I said he was being overly obtuse so as not to lead the prosecutor to something he could use. The question, "is there a relationship between you two" you could say "not anymore", "not currently" or "no". he was trying to get the prosecutors to define the question in such a way that "no" would lead to not having to say "not anymore" meaning at some point there WAS a relationship, but he didn't want to admit it.

It's not dissent, it's disruption. Anyone who's ever been to a legislature knows not to disrupt the proceedings or face the consequences.

No, he literally had them define "sexual relations" and they left out oral sex. He then said "nope," and rightly so.

And no, you are never allowed to lie under oath. You can just decline to answer.

She showed up with the intention of disrupting the hearing, and when she was asked to leave she threw a tantrum. And now we're expected to pretend she was punished simply for laughing......

So, allow any disruption of a legislature? C'mon now, be sensible.

Is Sessions an elf? Out of the loop for this one.

this isnt double jeopardy?

During a legislative or judicial meeting, a non-participant speaking in the chamber loudly enough to be heard is an offense.

impeachment processes don't work the same way as a normal court.

There's no judge. It's just a vote. The senators don't have to be reasonable in the slightest. The votes were mostly down party lines:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_of_Bill_Clinton#Senate_votes

Theres good money in that sort of charlatrey. Dont forget to use something from the produce section as your middle name.

Rich people don't "fair well" in prison. So they just don't go even when convicted of raping their own toddler children.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/02/justice/delaware-du-pont-rape-case/index.html

How long have you been able to tell the future? Is there a favorite moment where you enjoyed having this gift? Least favorite?

I'm pretty sure she's the one who went after Condoleezza Rice with blood/fake-blood on her hands and other stupid shit.

I don't have problems with people making a spectacle to make a point, but they have to accept the legal repercussions that come with it.

The laugh wasn't a genuine, "I find this funny" laugh, it was done to mock and purposely denigrate the proceedings. Which is fair enough, but it carries a punishment for it. Had she done it outside of the confirmation it wouldn't have got press, so she did it where she would.

Getting press meant getting charges and she knew that. So time to eat the shit sandwich she made for herself and stop crying about it.

Double jeopardy generally doesn't apply in cases where the conviction is overturned due to procedural error

Man, what a name

Because the judge threw it out, she wasn't found not guilty.

You missed the point. He is pointing out the double standard. YOU should agree that they should go after Sessions if you think it is ok to go after this woman. However, OP is advising that it is a waste of taxpayers money to go after the woman. So, you can advocate prosecuting Sessions and not prosecuting the woman. You can also make the case that protests like hers are part of a vibrant democracy and prosecuting her will, in the long run, help undermine democracy and free speech.

That's why we need for the justice system to be the same for all people across the board. Not the three-tiered system they have now: rich, not-rich, black.

Here's the same woman yelling at Condoleezza back in the day.

she knew what she was doing with sessions

Since next Tuesday.

I love how reddit seems to have completely switched it's stance since this was first posted about 2 months ago, y'all were saying she deserved it because she was disrupting it.

Found the Game of Thrones fan ;)

For some people, yes, it would be regarded as a feather in the cap.

Sorry for the typo. But its definitionally procedural b/c the judge found the action to be below the bar he deemed necessary, but he did not make a judgement towards a finding of substantive law. And thus a new trial was set as opposed to being outright dismissed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSgXWAfH9ec

This woman went to the hearing to dressed as a weird pink statue of liberty with sessions is evil kkk sign and had planned to disrupt the proceeding, police knowing her history chucked the crazy woman out before she could. she did a crazy stunt like this before with rice Not sure why they prosecuted on the laugh though

The government spends other people's money. The defendant spends her own.

This sounds like someone wants an example made of her, and damn the costs.

In court, she testified that it was an involuntary response to a blatant lie that Sessions said.

Once you're in the court room all laws mean nothing. The judge has complete authority to do whatever he/she wants and is legally allowed to disregard the law if they wish to do so.

This is what jury nullification is for. They should never have convicted.

proceedural [sic] issue

Eh, well, not really.

The judge found that her conviction cannot stand with the argument that the laugh, alone, is sufficient for a conviction. The government needs to show that her laugh was combined with a deliberate attempt to disrupt or otherwise interfere and comment upon the proceedings.

She can be retried, but the government needs to pass a slightly bigger hurdle on their next go around.

Is this something that would actually look good or even standout from anything else on a resume though?

Theres a slight difference between breaking a procedural rule, and murder. You shouldn't get arrested for yelling anywhere, just removed. The "rules" Sessions broke are laws, it is not illegal to laugh in the chambers

Well seems the judge disagrees with you

Depends on your local governance. Some places recognize the right to resist unlawful arrest.

This says some pretty terrifying things, that the executive branch is willing to come after people who dissent. What happens when they come for the courts, apparently, the only government branch that still understand s that we have a constitution.

It's a slippery slope that leads to dictatorship people.

if it were a mere financial penalty, there would be Super PACs set up to pay tea party fines for interrupting all manner of legislative business. The deterrent aspect is important, even if it is your ox that's being gored.

Not to mention the legal fees of getting the charges dropped

the trouble he got in was for the question "is there a relationship between you two?" and he was wondering does is mean "currently?" because if yes, then the answer is no,

I'd argue that "former-lover" is a valid relationship between two people. Same for 'ex-wife', 'guy from my old platoon' and '6th grade school teacher'. You may not see those people anymore or associate with them regularly, but you have a relationship to them which may change over time but never stops existing. He should have been questioning the nature of the word "relationship" not the definition of the word "is"

And sometimes you get a rough ride, so you don't even get a chance to beat the rap.

Yeah, I don't get why people don't understand this. It's like the people being removed from Trump rallies. You don't have a right to protest in an area booked for a private event.

And it fits him perfectly

If you can get a conviction for this shit? Hell ya, you must have skills. Def a resume builder :-(