Initial victory for CNN as White House forced to reinstate Jim Acosta's press pass temporarily, following judge ruling
The suit, filed by CNN, reportedly alleged Acosta and CNN's First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated because of the ban imposed on them
A federal judge on Friday ordered President Donald Trump's administration to temporarily reinstate CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass after it was suspended by the White House. Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, made the ruling in what can be seen as a first victory in the ongoing CNN vs Trump administration case.
CNN filed a lawsuit against president Trump and several of his top aides at the White House after they revoked Acosta's press access, known as a Secret Service "hard pass," to the White House. The suit, filed by the television network in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C, Tuesday morning, reportedly alleged Acosta and CNN's First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated because of the ban imposed on them.
The White House banned Acosta last week after a heated exchange with the president during a press conference. The White House later released a video — which is believed to be altered — to show Acosta made a physical contact with an intern, citing it as a reason for the ban. Trump, however, denied that claim and stated the video was not doctored and was simply a "close-up" of the incident.
However, a frame-by-frame comparison of the video posted by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the one taken by the Associated Press, showed that the video tweeted by Sanders appeared to speed up Acosta's arm movement when he makes contact with a young intern trying to take away his microphone during last Wednesday's press conference. The sped-up footage made the gesture look threatening.
Acosta, outside the U.S. District Court in Washington Friday, said: "I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today. Let's go back to work!"
According to the Guardian, the White House released a statement in response to the ruling saying: “Today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House. In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass. We will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House.”
CNN reportedly also wants "a declaration that the revocation of Acosta's press credentials was unconstitutional." CNN had reportedly asked the judge to make a ruling quickly, arguing that "every day that passes without Acosta regaining his press credentials is a concrete injury."
Lawyers for the Justice Department, in a court filing, reportedly said the suspension was "lawful" and that the White House held "broad discretion to regulate" journalists' access to the grounds. The move received widespread criticism, including from multiple journalism advocacy groups who rejected the White House's explanation for the ban and asked for Acosta's pass to be reinstated.
I'm posting this close up not to bolster my argument that Jim Acosta did nothing wrong, because I think that's pretty clear. Instead, look at the way this staffer keeps looking to Trump for confirmation on each attempt. It's so creepy. This blind obedience is cult like. pic.twitter.com/PRLBxkoCHI— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) November 8, 2018
Reports stated both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the lawsuit and the six defendants in the suit are Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, the director of the Secret Service, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta's hard pass away.
The officer's identification is pending and he has been marked as John Doe in the suit. CNN stated all the six defendants in the suit have been named for their roles in enforcing and announcing Acosta's suspension.