Judge tells White House to give CNN’s Jim Acosta his pass back

Ruling expected in CNN White House credentials case

A federal judge on November 16 ordered the Trump administration to immediately return the White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Mr Trump a year ago, said Mr Acosta's constitutional rights outweighed the White House's right to have an orderly news conference, the Washington Post reported.

Pressing First and Fifth Amendment claims, the suit contended that the White House revocation itself violated the First Amendment guarantee respecting the rights of Mr. Acosta and CNN to report the news.

In fact, Trump himself frequently speaks harshly to reporters, for example last week telling another CNN correspondent several times that her question was "stupid".

The case is expected to become an important legal decision for the scope of journalists' First Amendment rights.

Kelly, a Trump appointee, did not address the First Amendment's protections for freedom of speech and the press, but instead focused on a due process provision of the US Constitution that provides for fair treatment through a judicial or administrative process.

It should also be noted that Walters was not named in the lawsuit filed by CNN against the White House. A judge ruled: "That's not how it works".

On Friday afternoon (overnight NZT), more than 50 members of the White House press corps greeted Acosta as he strode through the northwest gate of the presidential compound.

Trump continued: "CNN should be ashamed of themselves having you working for them".

"Contrary to CNN's assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the president's support for a free press than the event he held today", Sanders said.

The White House Correspondents' Association - which represents reporters from scores of different outlets - said the government's stance is "wrong" and "dangerous".

In a statement on Tuesday, Sanders seemed to change the White House's justification. He was the first reporter with a "hard pass" to enter the White House grounds to be banned.

"I want to be very clear that I have not determined that the First Amendment was violated", he said in the Washington courtroom, adding that he based his decision on a 1977 ruling that required the White House to offer reasons for denial of press credentials and an opportunity to respond. Initially, the White House used doctored video footage to claim that Acosta put his hands on a White House intern, a claim Kelly said was of "questionable accuracy", according to McLeod. "The White House is not prohibiting CNN from being in there". The network received the support of multiple other news organizations, including Fox News, in the form of amicus briefs filed with the court. Journalists have argued that if the White House had the power to take away press access because it did not like a journalists' reporting, then any journalist could be in peril of being shut out - and Trump said he might do just that in the future.

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