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Judge orders White House to return CNN journalist Jim Acosta's press pass after US news network sues Donald Trump

A judge has granted US news network CNN and its White House correspondent Jim Acosta a temporary restraining order that will see the journalist’s White House press pass given back to him.

District Court Judge Timothy Kelly approved the temporary return of Acosta’s media credentials after CNN filed a lawsuit against President Trump and several of his aides on Tuesday.

The judge delayed his decision from Thursday to Friday after CNN argued its case on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

CNN claimed the removal of Acosta’s press pass breached his rights as a journalist under the First Amendment and his right to due process under the Fifth Amendment of the US Bill of Rights.

His pass was revoked after the White House claimed he put his hands on a staffer as she tried to take a microphone from him during a testing press conference with US President Donald Trump on Thursday last week.

Acosta and CNN have both said this claim is a lie.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared a video on Twitter this week that she claimed showed Acosta chopping at the intern’s arm, although some users claimed the footage had been doctored.

Trump has since said the video was simply a “close-up” on the incident, which was televised on a number of news networks as the president took questions following the midterm election results.

At a brief press conference following Judge Kelly’s decision today, Acosta said: “I want to thank all of my colleagues who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge. Let’s go back to work.”

A statement from 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.”

In its lawsuit filing, CNN argued that the decision to revoke Acosta’s pass would “create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials” were it to go unchallenged.

US network Fox News supported its rival’s lawsuit on Wednesday, announcing that it would be handing a document supporting CNN’s case to the US District Court in Washington DC.

Fox News is widely believed to be where the president gets his news.

Other major news outlets supported CNN’s case in a statement released on Wednesday that was signed by NBC News, the New York Times, Bloomberg, Politico, Associated Press and USA Today.

CNN has said Acosta’s press credentials were revoked “in retaliation for his challenging questions” to Trump, who again labelled CNN “fake news” and said it was the “enemy of the people” during the press conference last week.

In a statement on the lawsuit released earlier this week, Sanders said Acosta had “refused to yield to other reporters”, adding: “The White House cannot run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way.”

In response to today’s court ruling, the White House said: “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.”

Picture: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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