Playboy correspondent sues White House over suspended credentials

Playboy correspondent sues White House over suspended credentials
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Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the White House after his credentials were suspended for a month.

Attorney Ted Boutrous filed the suit in a Washington, D.C., federal district court alleging First Amendment and Fifth Amendment violations. The suit names President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE and White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser marred by protests Trump names finalists for national security adviser MORE as defendants.

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"We are confident that the Administration’s latest punitive and lawless action against a journalist will not stand, and we look forward to our day in court," Boutrous said in a statement.

The lawsuit seeks the immediate restoration of Karem’s hard pass, which grants reporters daily access to the White House grounds and unspecified damages to be proved at trial.

Karem, who is a CNN contributor, pledged last week to sue after Grisham wrote a 13-page letter upholding her initial decision to suspend his credentials for one month. The letter cited his conduct during a July 11 Rose Garden event, where Karem clashed with Trump supporters who attended a White House social media summit.

The summit attendees were invited to attend a Rose Garden announcement, where Trump said he would drop his lawsuit to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

As the president walked back into the White House, Karem shouted and asked about whether Trump would stay and take questions from the press.

Former White House adviser Sebastian GorkaSebastian Lukacs GorkaPirro acknowledges suspension by Fox Judge orders White House to restore Playboy reporter's press pass Playboy correspondent suing White House for suspending press pass: 'I am provocative, and I am a smart aleck' MORE, sitting in the audience, began engaging with Karem before getting up to approach the reporter.

"You're not a journalist. You're a punk," Gorka said to Karem, who invited the former Trump adviser to "go outside and have a long talk."

Another social media summit attendee shouted to Karem that Gorka would "kick your f---ing ass," while Trump tweeted the next day that Gorka "Wins Big, No Contest!"

Grisham wrote last week that she based her decision to suspend Karem's pass on videos of the incident, the observations of a Secret Service agent in attendance and Karem's recounting of the exchange.

She wrote that revoking his pass would be too harsh but that taking no action was an insufficient response to Karem "disrupting" a White House event.

This marks the second high-profile case of the White House suspending or revoking a reporter's credentials over an incident at a press event.

The administration revoked CNN reporter Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaTrump goes after 'nasty' WaPost reporters, suggests they be barred from White House Judge orders White House to restore Playboy reporter's press pass White House Correspondents Association objects to suspension of Playboy reporter's credentials MORE's credentials last year after it said he made contact with an intern while trying to hang on to the microphone to ask Trump a question. A federal judge ordered the White House to restore Acosta's credentials, saying the administration did not follow any established process in its decision.

The White House has had an acrimonious relationship with the news media dating back to Trump's time on the campaign. Regular press briefings have all but stopped, and Trump regularly derides outlets and reporters he dislikes as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people."