NEW YORK— PEN America filed an amended complaint in its case against President Donald J. Trump. The claim addresses the President’s ongoing violations of the First Amendment through use of the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes. New to the amended complaint are allegations related to the President’s threatened and actual revocations of security clearances of media commentators and White House press credentials. The amended complaint also includes more detailed information about PEN America’s members who have been specifically targeted and affected by the President’s retaliatory actions, including CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The amended complaint also details the organizational resources PEN America has expended to protect freedom of expression in the United States in response to the President’s retaliatory actions. The following statements have been released:

The following statements have been issued:

“The President’s egregious and unconstitutional efforts to retaliate against journalists for coverage he dislikes continue. Journalists in the United States should not have to operate under the threat of possible harm to themselves or their employers in order to report on the workings of government,” said PEN America Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Nossel.  “The consequences of the President’s menacing of the press have been felt not just in Washington, but across the country and around the world.  The courts must affirm the centrality of a free press to our democracy, and the unconstitutionality of attempts to stifle it.”

“PEN America’s lawsuit was filed with the goal of preventing the President from using the machinery of government to limit journalists’ ability to exercise their First Amendment rights. Freedom of the press is a critical component of a functioning democracy.  The First Amendment protects the press’s ability to accurately report on the activities of government, and the public’s ability to access accurate information and to engage in a free exchange of ideas, without fear of retribution. When the President uses the power of government in an attempt to regulate the coverage of him and his administration, it is critical that the courts step in to protect the Constitution and prevent him from threatening democracy by quashing dissent,” said Kristy Parker, Counsel, Protect Democracy.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: [email protected]