The Wisconsin judge presiding over the case against Kyle Rittenhouse on Thursday banned staff from MSNBC from entering the Kenosha courthouse for the remainder of the trial.
In a brief statement before the court Thursday, Judge Bruce Schroeder addressed an incident in which a person who identified himself as an employee for MSNBC allegedly followed a sealed bus with blocked out windows as it left the courthouse to transport jurors to an undisclosed location.
“I have instructed that no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial,” Schroeder said. “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 spotted following the bus identified himself as James J. Morrison – and he told investigators he was instructed to follow the vehicle, Schroeder added. The judge said Morrison claimed to be working under the supervision of an MSNBC producer based in New York.
“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. We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation,” an NBC spokesperson told Fox News.
The Kenosha Police Department said in a tweet Thursday, “Last night a person who is alleging to be affiliated with a national media outlet was briefly taken into custody and issued several traffic related citations. Police suspect this person was trying to photograph jurors.”
“This incident is being investigated much further,” police added. “There was no breach of security regarding the jury, nor were there any photographs obtained. This investigation remains active and open, no further information.”