Fox News to file brief defending CNN in lawsuit against the White House

November 14, 2018

Fox News will back CNN in its lawsuit demanding the restoration of reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, the news network announced Wednesday.

Jay Wallace, Fox News president and executive editor, announced the move, backing a competitor at a time when CNN is enmeshed in a nasty public relations fight, and now a legal battle, with President Trump.

“Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” Mr. Wallace said.

Mr. Acosta’s pass was revoked after he verbally sparred with the president during a press conference last week. When a White House intern came to take the microphone from him Mr. Acosta refused to give it back. He used his hand to chop at the woman’s elbow as she tried to take control of the microphone.

That contact has been widely debated, with CNN downplaying it, while the White House said it was a physical assault on the woman, and used that as one justification for revoking Mr. Acosta’s press pass.

CNN filed a lawsuit Tuesday arguing Mr. Acosta’s First Amendment press rights and his Fifth Amendment due process rights were violated by the pass revocation. They also said the decision violated process laws because it was arbitrary and Mr. Acosta was never given any notification.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the lawsuit “grandstanding.”

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. and was assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee.

Gabriella Munoz contributed to this report.

Update hourly