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Law & the Courts

Judge Orders White House to Return Acosta’s Press Pass

CNN’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta talks to reporters after a judge temporarily restored his White House press credentials following a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., November 16, 2018. (Carlos Barria/Reuters )

Updated 12:05pm:

A federal judge ruled in favor of CNN in its lawsuit against the White House Friday, ordering that reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass be returned after it was revoked last week.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly granted the network’s request for a temporary restraining order that requires the administration to return the chief White House correspondent’s security pass.

The White House stripped Acosta of his credentials after a contentious interaction at President Trump’s post-midterm press conference last week, in which Acosta refused to give up the microphone after asking several questions and Trump responded by calling him a “rude, terrible person.”

CNN sued, saying Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights had been violated.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also shared a doctored video of Acosta’s interaction with a White House intern who tried to take the microphone back from him that made his actions look more aggressive than they were.

“In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass,” Sanders said, adding, “there must be decorum at the White House.”

The judge “made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House,” the press secretary said.

Kelly, a Trump appointee, said he granted the temporary restraining order based on his conviction that CNN will ultimately prevail in the lawsuit. He stressed that the initial victory he handed CNN is “very limited” and that the White House could revoke Acosta’s pass again if it afforded him the due process to which he is entitled.

“I just want to thank all my colleagues in the press who supported me this week. I want to thank the judge. And let’s go back to work,” Acosta said after the ruling. He is expected to report from the White House Friday afternoon, CNN 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 press,” the network said in a statement after the ruling was announced.

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