A federal judge ordered the White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press pass Friday, CNN reported.
Federal judge Timothy Kelly made the ruling in response to a lawsuit filed by the network against President Donald Trump and his press aides. The suit claims that the White House violated the network's and Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights by revoking his press credentials.
Kelly did not rule on the actual case but granted the network's request for a temporary restraining order, adding that he believes Acosta is likely to win the case based on Fifth Amendment grounds. The judge said that Acosta was entitled to due process before the White House could legally revoke his pass.
"I've read the case closely," he said. "Whether it's what I agree with, that's a different story. But I must apply precedent as I see it."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "we will temporarily reinstate the reporter's hard pass" but added, "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."
Kelly, a Trump appointee, suggested that the White House could still revoke Acosta's press pass if he is allowed due process.
Sarah Sanders claims victory:
"Today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House," Sanders said in a statement.
Sanders herself became an issue in the case after she falsely accused Acosta of “putting his hands” on an intern who tried to take the microphone away during his tense exchange with Trump at a news conference last week.
Kelly said Sanders' claim that Acosta put his hands on the woman was "likely untrue" and "partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy."
CNN claims victory:
"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. CNN was supported in court with amicus briefs from Fox News, as well as NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Associated Press, and others.
Journalists concerned of future repercussions:
"The revocation of Acosta's credentials is only the beginning," a key part of CNN's lawsuit said, adding that the move may pave the way for other press passes to be revoked.
"Simply stated," the White House Correspondents' Association said in a brief to the court, "if the President were to have the absolute discretion to strip a correspondent of a hard pass, the chilling effect would be severe and the First Amendment protections afforded journalists to gather and report news on the activities on the President would be largely eviscerated."
At a Washington Post event Thursday, reporter Robert Costa asked White House communications aide Mercedes Schlapp if the White House is considering revoking other reporters' passes.
"I'm not going to get into any internal deliberations that are happening,” she replied.