Score another loss for the White House in its attempt to silence any member of the press not to Donald Trump’s liking by unexpectedly and unceremoniously yanking their press credentials.
US District Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled today that President Trump and Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham must immediately restore the press credentials of Playboy White House Correspondent Brian Karem that were stripped away from the journalist at the beginning of August after he had a public argument in the Rose Garden with former White House aide and anti-Islamic Nazi-sympathizer Sebastian Gorka.
In Judge Contreras’ opinion, he affirmed that Karem had “shown that he is likely to succeed” on his claim that his due process rights were violated when his pass was suspended and ordered a temporary restraining order by placed on the White House Press Office to prevent them from keeping the journalist — who also works as a political analyst for CNN — from being able to do his job by restricting his access.
Karem reported his victory in the lawsuit he filed to reverse the initial decision by the White House in a pair of jubilant tweets.
Thank you to @BoutrousTed and his fantastic team. Free Speech and Due process win!
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) September 3, 2019
Initially, Press Secretary Grisham — who has yet to hold a single press conference since she took over the job from Sarah Huckabee Sanders in July — told Karem that she had made a “preliminary decision” to suspend his “hard pass,” as the press credential is referred to, for 30 days.
However, just two weeks later, Grisham sent Kaerm a letter stating that she had “made a final determination” to implement a formal 30-day suspension. The Press Secretary justified her decision with a description of the Playboy correspondent in the letter that stated:
“Mr. Karem’s conduct, taken as a whole, was unacceptable and disruptive, and requires a response to ensure that it does not happen again,” Grisham said.
“It’s a kangaroo court,” Karem told CNN in August. “It’s the exact opposite of due process. ‘You’re guilty, want to come in here and tell us why you’re not?’ No, that’s not due process. That’s the exact opposite of due process.”
“Just like with Jim Acosta’s case, the White House out of the blue suspended Brian Karem’s press pass based on nonexistent standards, with no notice of what the — the standards of conduct would be,” Boutrous said. “And so we have a lot of the same arguments.”
“I am proactive, and I am a smart aleck,” Karem admitted on Sunday. “But I’m not going to apologize for that. That’s OK under the First Amendment.”
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.