Police said they briefly detained a man associated with MSNBC who had followed the jury bus and may have attempted to photograph jurors. As a result, Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial judge barred MSNBC from the courtroom on Thursday, Nov.18.
Jurors are driven to the courthouse daily from a secret location in a van with the windows covered so they don’t see the protesters outside. They enter through a secret door, preventing them from coming into contact with the general population.
According to Judge Bruce Schroeder, the man introduced himself to police as James J. Morrison and stated that he worked for NBC News’ cable news network MSNBC. He claimed that he was told to follow the bus by someone from MSNBC in New York.
Following that, NBC News issued a statement referring to Morrison as a freelancer and denying that he intended to photograph jurors.
NBC News then expressed apologies for the event and stated that it would fully assist with the investigation.
“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 read.
Officers allegedly stopped Morrison after he reportedly ran a red light, according to Schroeder. Morrison allegedly told officers what he was doing at that point. In a pair of tweets, the Kenosha Police Department reported that he was “briefly taken into custody” and then handed multiple traffic-related citations, said nbc15.
The police department assured the public there “was no breach of security regarding the jury, nor were there any photographs obtained.” The tweets added that no other details would be released because this is an open investigation, saying that “this incident is being investigated much further.”
The judge described it as a very severe matter submitted to the competent authorities for further action.
During a protest against police brutality in Kenosha last year, Rittenhouse, 18, shot and killed two people and injured a third. He testified that he fired in self-defense after the men assaulted him.
At the start of the politically sensitive trial, the court prohibited anyone from photographing the jurors, reported AP news.