A judge in Washington DC has ordered the White House to return CNN reporter, Jim Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked by the US Secret Service.
The judge’s order said that the pass must be reinstated as a CNN lawsuit against Donald Trump continues.
Mr Acosta’s press pass was taken after he clashed with the president during a news conference earlier this month.
The judge said the White House decision likely violated the journalist’s right to due process and freedom of speech.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Acosta praised the decision and told reporters “let’s go back to work”.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said they will comply with the order, and 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,” she added.
The ruling forces the White House press office to temporarily return Mr Acosta’s “hard pass”, the credential that allows reporters easy access to the White House and other presidential events.
Mr Acosta’s lawyer called the ruling “a great day for the first amendment and journalism”.
Mr Acosta was barred from entering the White House a day after he had a heated exchange with President Trump during a news conference on 8 November.
During the news conference, a White House intern tried to take the microphone from Mr Acosta as he attempted to ask the president a follow-up question.
In a statement Mrs Sanders claimed that he had put “his hands on a young woman” during the exchange, during which Mr Trump called the reporter “a rude, terrible person”.
CNN sued to have Mr Acosta’s pass restored, and their lawsuit was joined by other media groups, including conservative-leaning Fox News.
Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Mr Trump last year, said Mr Acosta’s constitutional rights outweighed the White House’s right to have an orderly news conference, the Washington Post reported.
He also criticised the Trump administration’s decision, saying that the process was“so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me… who made the decision”.
He also called Mrs Sanders statement claiming that Mr Acosta had inappropriately touched an intern“belated efforts [that] were hardly sufficient to satisfy due process”.
But in court documents, the White House argued that the decision was make in order to preserve White House decorum and did not claim impropriety towards the intern.
Judge Kelly added that the White House is required to restore his White House access, but is under no obligation to call on him during questions.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for next week, but it is unclear if the White House will once against seek to strip Mr Acosta’s access, or allow him to resume his work as CNN’s chief White House correspondent.
In a statement, CNN said:“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.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the judge “made clear that there is no absolute first amendment right to access the White House” and that her office planned to “temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass”.
This article provided by NewsEdge.