Rittenhouse Judge Bans MSNBC From Courthouse Judge Bruce Schroeder tells Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger that certain evidence is not admissible during Rittenhouse's trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse on Nov. 10, 2021, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 18 November 2021 01:49 PM
The judge presiding over the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial banned MSNBC from the courthouse for the proceeding’s duration after someone representing the news organization was caught following the jury's bus on Wednesday night.
Judge Bruce Schroeder informed trial participants and viewers of his decision from the bench Thursday morning, when the jury began its third day of deliberations.
Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with killing two men and wounding a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020. The demonstrations and violence followed the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down.
"I have instructed that no one from MSNBC News will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial," Schroeder said in a video that the Daily Wire tweeted.
"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 a jury bus … that is a very, extremely serious matter and will be referred to the proper authorities for further action."
NBC News released a statement: "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," CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted.
"We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation," Stelter added in another tweet.
Schroeder said that a person, who later identified himself as [producer] James Morrison of MSNBC, ran a red light while pursuing the jury bus from about a block away. Police stopped Morrison’s vehicle and ticketed the driver for "violating a control signal."
"[Morrison] stated he had been instructed by [Irene Byon] in New York to follow the jury bus," Schroeder said. "The matter is under further investigation at this point."
"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," Kenosha Police Department tweeted.
"There was no breach of security regarding the jury, nor were there any photographs obtained. This investigation remains active and open, no further information," a follow-up tweet said.
Schroeder explained that the jury is transported "from a different location in a bus with windows covered so that they don’t have to look at any … aren’t exposed to any signs by one or side or another or interests in the case."
The jury in Rittenhouse's trial moved into a third day of deliberations Thursday, even as its request to re-watch video in the case sparked a fresh bid from his attorneys for a mistrial.