A US federal judge on Friday, November 16, 2018 ordered the White House to reinstate the press credentials of Jim Acosta, a CNN reporter.
Acosta’s pass was suspended indefinitely after a heated exchange with President Donald Trump at a news conference on November 7, 2018
He had reportedly angered President Trump when he persisted in questioning the president after he tried to move on to other reporters.
Thereafter, CNN filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 against President Trump, Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, and other officials, accusing them of violating the first amendment rights of CNN and Acosta to report on the presidency.
CNN lawyers said:
“This severe and unprecedented punishment is the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta based on the contents of their reporting”.
Countering, James Burnham, US justice department’s lawyer, said Acosta had “disrupted” the news conference and that “there is no first amendment right to access the White House”.
Ruling on the case, Judge Timothy Kelly, issued a temporary restraining order that requires the White House to restore Acosta’s access until a full hearing is held.
The judge said his ruling was based on “due process” for the journalist, and that he would hold additional proceedings on the constitutional issues at stake, including the first amendment free press guarantee.
“I want to be very clear that I have not determined that the first amendment was violated”.
Several media organizations, including the Associated Press, Fox News, NBC News, the New York Times and the Washington Post, supported CNN’s claim that revoking Acosta’s pass violated constitutional guarantees of a free press.
Speaking outside the courthouse, Acosta 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. And let’s go back to work”.
CNN in a statement in reaction to the judgement said: “We are gratified with this result and we look forward to a full resolution in the coming days. Our sincere thanks to all who have supported not just CNN, but a free, strong and independent American”.
Sanders also said in a statement that President Trump administration will return Acosta’s pass.
“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,” the statement read.
“There must be decorum at the White House”.
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