Acosta: the next step

Now that the judge in the Acosta matter has issued a temporary restraining order against the White House, it is necessary that they follow his instructions as detailed by the AP

The judge told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.

It is clear how the judge made his decision based on false information. But the White House bears some responsibility too. They have a chance to clean up the mess. The place to start is to file a written explanation of what they want. Based on Sarah Sanders Huckabee’s initial aim. The AP put it this way:

Sanders initially explained the decision by accusing Acosta of making improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.

Her request is consistent with existing federal law, specifically 18 U.S. Code § 111 - Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees. The relevant statute reads as follows:

(a) In General.—Whoever—

(1) forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties; or

(2) forcibly assaults or intimidates any person who formerly served as a person designated in section 1114 on account of the performance of official duties during such person’s term of service, shall, where the acts in violation of this section constitute only simple assault, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, and where such acts involve physical contact with the victim of that assault or the intent to commit another felony, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

Which brings us to the dispute about the facts. The key dispute, which the court did not resolve, is whether Acosta “resisted” and/or improper physical contact with the female intern. Since Acosta and CNN both have asserted that he did not even touch her, the White House ought to ask the court to make CNN’s president and Jim Acosta file sworn affidavits to that effect under penalty of perjury. And then they should have the female intern provide her affidavit indicating whether he touched her. They need to set up a classic “He said, she said” situation. Acosta should be eager to swear in court what he said on TV. He need not fear a “perjury trap” if he is telling the truth.

It is critical to note that Acosta and CNN omitted the intern from the list of defendants, so she has not had her chance to speak truth to power. She might file a motion for an order of protection against Acosta, asking that he be required to stay out of her workplace ensuring she has a safe working environment.  And she could file a criminal complaint with the FBI asking it to investigate and seek an arrest warrant for Acosta under 18 U.S. Code § 111.

Then she should produce the competing videos -- CNN’s and the second one that the court has not yet seen.

Now that the judge in the Acosta matter has issued a temporary restraining order against the White House, it is necessary that they follow his instructions as detailed by the AP

The judge told attorneys to file additional court papers in the case by Monday.

It is clear how the judge made his decision based on false information. But the White House bears some responsibility too. They have a chance to clean up the mess. The place to start is to file a written explanation of what they want. Based on Sarah Sanders Huckabee’s initial aim. The AP put it this way:

Sanders initially explained the decision by accusing Acosta of making improper physical contact with the intern seeking to grab the microphone.

Her request is consistent with existing federal law, specifically 18 U.S. Code § 111 - Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees. The relevant statute reads as follows:

(a) In General.—Whoever—

(1) forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties; or

(2) forcibly assaults or intimidates any person who formerly served as a person designated in section 1114 on account of the performance of official duties during such person’s term of service, shall, where the acts in violation of this section constitute only simple assault, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, and where such acts involve physical contact with the victim of that assault or the intent to commit another felony, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

Which brings us to the dispute about the facts. The key dispute, which the court did not resolve, is whether Acosta “resisted” and/or improper physical contact with the female intern. Since Acosta and CNN both have asserted that he did not even touch her, the White House ought to ask the court to make CNN’s president and Jim Acosta file sworn affidavits to that effect under penalty of perjury. And then they should have the female intern provide her affidavit indicating whether he touched her. They need to set up a classic “He said, she said” situation. Acosta should be eager to swear in court what he said on TV. He need not fear a “perjury trap” if he is telling the truth.

It is critical to note that Acosta and CNN omitted the intern from the list of defendants, so she has not had her chance to speak truth to power. She might file a motion for an order of protection against Acosta, asking that he be required to stay out of her workplace ensuring she has a safe working environment.  And she could file a criminal complaint with the FBI asking it to investigate and seek an arrest warrant for Acosta under 18 U.S. Code § 111.

Then she should produce the competing videos -- CNN’s and the second one that the court has not yet seen.