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CNN has a good case against White House over Acosta's revoked press pass: Judge Napolitano

Henry Fernandez

CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration over the suspension of correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials has merit, according to Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

“I think CNN got a very good case,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. “I think this will be resolved quickly. I don’t expect a jury trial.”

The suit was filed in in Washington, D.C., district court, on Tuesday alleging President Trump violated the network’s chief White House correspondent’s First Amendment rights.

“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,” CNN said in a statement. “We have asked the court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass to be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

Napolitano said the only grounds for revoking a press pass are that the person posed a physical threat to the president or his family.

“Acosta may have been an irritant to the president, but he was hardly a danger to [Trump],” he said.

Named in CNN's lawsuit are President Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, press secretary Sarah Sanders and the Secret Service officer who removed Acosta's pass.

On Tuesday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson defended Acosta while attending the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech D. Live conference. CNN is now part of AT&T following its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

Sanders called the move by CNN as “grandstanding.”

“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,” Sanders said in a statement. “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.”

Trump confronted Acosta in a testy exchange during White House press conference after the White House reporter repeatedly peppered the president with questions about the migrant caravan and Russia investigation last week.

“That's enough. Put down the mic,” Trump ordered Acosta, as a White House aide attempted to remove the microphone from him, unsuccessfully.

Sanders announced the suspension of Acosta’s hard press pass until further notice over Twitter, saying, “This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question.”

Napolitano said CNN is not seeking monetary damages, but the immediate return of Acosta’s credentials.

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