Federal Judge Orders White House to Reinstate CNN Reporter Jim Acosta's Press Pass

A federal judge has granted CNN's request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate the White House press pass for Jim Acosta, the network's chief correspondent

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Photo: Ron Sachs/AP

A federal judge has granted CNN’s request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate the White House press pass for Jim Acosta, the network’s chief White House correspondent.

The ruling came Friday from Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, CNBC reported.

“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,” Acosta said outside U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

“Let’s go back to work!” he added.

The White House did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment. CNN referred PEOPLE to its statement on Twitter which said, “JUST IN: A federal judge sides with CNN, ordering the White House to reinstate chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass. The ruling was an initial victory for CNN in its lawsuit against President Trump and several top aides.”

Acosta was banned from the White House last Wednesday following a heated exchange with the president. In response, the following Tuesday, the news network sued on the grounds that the ban violates Acosta and CNN’s First and Fifth Amendment rights.

Both CNN and Acosta, 47, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, while the six defendants are: Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, the director of the Secret Service, and the Secret Service officer (referred to as John Doe, pending his identification) who took Acosta’s press pass away.

CNN said in a statement on Tuesday that “it demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN’s Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process. We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

Sanders released a response statement, saying: “We have been advised that CNN has filed a complaint challenging the suspension of Jim Acosta’s hard pass. This is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against this lawsuit. CNN, who has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders, and Mr. Acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment. After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions — each of which the President answered — he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions. This was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters.

“The White House cannot run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional,” the statement continued. “The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolize the floor. If there is no check on this type of behavior it impedes the ability of the President, the White House staff, and members of the media to conduct business.”

RELATED VIDEO: President Trump Berates Jim Acosta During Heated Press Conference

Last Wednesday, Acosta was denied entry to the White House and had his press pass confiscated.

The suspension came after the White House falsely claimed that Acosta “put hands on” a female White House intern as she tried to take the microphone away from him following a heated exchange with the president in a press conference. Acosta has denied this on Twitter writing, “This is a lie.”

Sanders came under fire for sharing an allegedly doctored video of the moment that contains no audio and replays a slow motion version of the incident.

Sanders defended the decision in a statement saying, “President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.

CNN said in a statement at the time that the “President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far.”

“They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect free press, he has a worn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalist.”

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