US judge orders White House to return Acosta pass

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – A federal judge in Washington ordered the Donald Trump administration on Friday to immediately return the White House credential for CNN's Jim Acosta.

"I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week," Acosta said outside of the federal court house shortly after U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly issued his decision. "Let’s get back to work."

The decision is not the final word in CNN's lawsuit over the matter. The network had requested Acosta's "hard pass," which grants journalist's White House access, be returned while the legal action goes forward, to which Kelly, an appointee of U.S. President Donald Trump, agreed Friday by issuing a temporary restraining order.

CNN is suing on the basis that Acosta's constitutional rights were allegedly violated by the White House when it suspended indefinitely his credential. At issue in CNN's suit are the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantee a free press and due process respectively.

The Trump administration has argued it has "broad discretion" in granting White House access to journalists covering the president as it sought to justify the removal of Acosta's credential following a heated exchange with Trump.

Journalists threw their support behind Acosta with nearly a dozen news outlets including CNN's chief television rival, Fox News, saying they would be filing a court brief in support of the suit.

"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," CNN said in a joint statement with Acosta.

CNN has been a frequent target of Trump's furor against media outlets, which he calls "fake news" and "the enemy of the people."