CNN sued President Donald Trump and his top aides on Tuesday, November 13, after the White House suspended Jim Acosta’s press pass.
The network reported that it filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to immediately reinstate Acosta’s access to the White House. The suit claims that the ban violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of CNN and its chief White House correspondent.
CNN and Acosta, 47, are both listed as plaintiffs, while the six defendants are Trump, 72, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Randolph Alles and the unnamed Secret Service officer who took away Acosta’s pass.
“This is not a step we have taken lightly. But the White House action is unprecedented,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said in a memo to staffers on Tuesday, according to the network.
The president and Acosta butted heads during a press conference on Wednesday, November 7, after the journalist asked a question about immigration. Trump tried to move on to another reporter, but Acosta did not give up the microphone. Later that day, the White House announced that Acosta’s credentials had been removed and falsely claimed that he placed his hands on a female intern who tried to take away the mic.
Sanders, 36, was later accused of posting a doctored video of the incident on her Twitter account.
In response to Tuesday’s filing, the press secretary released a lengthy statement to CNN that said in part, “The White House cannot run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional. 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.”
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