The judge presiding over Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial has banned MSNBC employees from entering the courthouse, claiming that a man claiming to work for the network attempted to follow the bus transporting jurors.
“I have instructed that no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial. This is a very serious matter and I don’t know what the ultimate truth of it is, but absolutely it would go without much thinking that someone who is following the jury bus – that is an extremely serious matter and will be referred to the proper authorities for further action.”
The man seen following the bus identified himself as James J. Morrison – and told investigators he was told to do so, according to Schroeder.
“Last evening a person who identified himself as James J. Morrison and who claimed that he was a producer with NBC News… and under the supervision of someone… in New York for MSNBC. The police when they stopped him because he was following in the distance of about a block and went through a red light, pulled him over and inquired of him what was going on and he gave that information,” Schroeder said. “He stated he had been instructed by [a supervisor] in New York to follow the jury bus.”
According to a tweet from the Kenosha Police Department on Thursday morning, a person claiming to be affiliated with a national media outlet was briefly detained for several traffic violations. Police suspected the person was attempting to photograph jurors in the trial at the time.
During the highly publicised and politicised trial, jurors had previously expressed concerns about their safety and privacy.
NBC News issued a statement after judge banned MSNBC from courthouse:
“Last night, a freelancer received a traffic citation. While the traffic violation took place near the jury van, the freelancer never contacted or intended to contact the jurors during deliberations, and never photographed or intended to photograph them,” the statement said. “We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation,” NBC added.