The judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse trial banned MSNBC from the courtroom on Thursday after a man claiming to be a producer for the network was accused of following jurors.
The man, who identified himself as James Morrison, was pulled over Wednesday after he allegedly blew a red light while pursuing a bus that transports jurors from the Kenosha County Courthouse, Judge Bruce Schroeder said.
“He stated that he had been instructed by [a superior] in New York to follow the jury bus,” Schroeder said.
Police confirmed Thursday that there was an “incident with a person who is alleging to be affiliated with a national media outlet” and the suspect was issued several traffic citations.
“Police suspect this person was trying to photograph jurors. This incident is being investigated much further,” police said.
Schroeder called the incident an “extremely serious matter” and barred any journalists from MSNBC from attending the ongoing trial.
“I have instructed that no one from MSNBC News will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial. This a very serious matter,” Schroeder said.
A rep for NBC News confirmed that a freelancer for the news organization received a traffic violation, but denied that the individual was trying to get in contact with the jurors.
“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 obtained by CNN’s Brian Stelter said.
“We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation.”