Judge Rules Trump Must Reinstate CNN's Jim Acosta's White House Press Pass
Judge's ruling returns Acosta's press pass temporarily as the larger case is considered
A judge has ordered President Trump to return the White House press pass to CNN reporter Jim Acosta, which was removed following an aggressive alternation during a press conference last week.
Acosta was stripped of his credentials by Secret Service due to a direct order from the president following a shocking display of self-entitlement from the hyper-partisan journalist during an extended Q&A session with Donald Trump after the midterms.
Now, a federal judge granted Acosta's request for a preliminary injunction and ordered the return of his permanent press pass from the White House.
Judge Timothy J Kelly granted the motion on Friday after hearing arguments in the case earlier in the week, which was brought by CNN and Acosta against the White House.
Standing outside of the DC courthouse, CNN lawyer Ted Boutrous described the temporary injunction as a victory for American press and speech freedoms.
"We're extremely pleased with the ruling today. This is a great day for the First Amendment and for journalism," Mr. Boutrous said.
Acosta, appearing pleased, said he was grateful for the support he received following the revocation of his credentials.
After the hard pass was revoked, the liberal media unified in condemning the Trump administration's decision.
In an unusual move, Fox News also sided with CNN, which caused outrage from the outlet's conservative audience.
"I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported me this week," Mr. Acosta said outside of the courthouse, before thanking the judge for the ruling. "Let's get back to work."
Acosta's permanent press pass, known as a "hard pass," was taken from the journalist after the White House accused him of "placing his hand on a young intern" during a press conference with the president soon after the 2018 midterm elections last week.
Mr. Acosta has challenged that classification of his interaction with the intern.
A video of the incident — which was broadcast live on national television in the US — shows Mr. Acosta aggressively challenging the president over the migrant caravans travelling north from Central America.
Acosta used leading questions to confront Trump's comments that the migrants' attempts to entering the United States illegally amount to an invasion on the US homeland.
Mr. Acosta then attempted to ask about the Russia investigation while talking over Trump other journalists as he refused to surrender the microphone.
During that exchange, the president tells Mr. Acosta to give up his mic, and a White House intern approached and attempted to retrieve it from him.
Acosta kept his grip on the device — saying "excuse me, ma'am" at one point to the intern — before eventually letting go of the microphone.
Mr. Acosta and CNN have sued the Trump administration over the credentials, citing alleged violations of Mr. Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights.
The First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech and the press, while the Fifth Amendment guarantees the right to due process under the law.
CNN, in response to the judge's Friday ruling, said the following: "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 judge will now consider the broader arguments in the case, and future hearings could be scheduled in the coming weeks.
The outcome of the case could have broad ramifications for reporters and journalists covering the White House and US federal government.