Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher duo Ted Boutrous and Ted Olson are representing CNN and reporter Jim Acosta in a lawsuit filed Tuesday challenging the Trump administration’s decision to suspend Acosta’s access to the White House.
The lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C., federal court, aims to restore Acosta’s White House press pass, where he has covered the Trump administration for CNN. The civil complaint said the White House’s revocation violates the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment right to due process, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act.
“Plaintiffs bring this action to enforce this constitutional commitment, restore Acosta’s well-deserved press credentials, and ensure that the press remains free to question the government and to report the business of the nation to the American people,” the complaint said.
The case was assigned to Judge Timothy Kelly of the District of Columbia. Kelly, a Trump appointee, has been seated on the court since September 2017. Earlier this year, he sided with the Trump administration in a fight over leadership at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The White House revoked Acosta’s access after a contentious press conference last week, which saw a tangle between him and a White House aide over the use of a microphone. The Trump administration, which has long been critical of CNN and has derided it as “fake news,” claimed Acosta acted inappropriately in the incident.
The complaint by Boutrous and Olson challenges the White House’s explanation for the move. “The content and viewpoint of CNN’s and Acosta’s reporting on the Trump administration—not his interaction with the staffer at the November 7 press conference—were the real reason the White House indefinitely revoked his press credentials,” the filing said.
After news of the revocation first broke last Wednesday evening, Boutrous tweeted of the decision: “This sort of angry, irrational, false, arbitrary, capricious content-based discrimination regarding a White House press credential against a journalist quite clearly violates the First Amendment. See Sherrill v Knight (DC Cir 1977).”
Read the lawsuit: