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The judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial banned MSNBC News from the courthouse Thursday after he said a person who identified himself as a producer was suspected of trying to follow a bus containing jurors.
In response, NBC issued a statement that said: "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."
Kenosha police said earlier Thursday morning that a person was taken into custody after being suspected of trying to photograph jurors.
The investigation is ongoing, police said, adding that the person was "issued several traffic related citations." No pictures of any jurors were taken by the individual, the police department said.
Late Thursday morning in court, Judge Bruce Schroeder said the person identified themselves as "James J. Morrison, who claimed he was a producer with NBC News, employed by MSNBC."
Schroeder said that the individual was following the jury bus the night prior. "The jury in this case is being transported from a different location in a bus with windows covered so that they aren't exposed to anything on one side or the other," Schroeder explained. "That's been done every day."
Morrison allegedly said he was told to follow the jury bus by his boss in New York, identified as Irene Byon. "He was taken in for violating a traffic control signal," Schroeder said.
"This is a very serious matter and I don't know what the ultimate truth of it is," Schroeder said, "but absolutely, it would go without much thinking that someone who is following a jury bus, that is a very serious, extremely serious matter, and will be referred to the proper authorities for further action."
According to Schroeder, nobody else from MSNBC News "will be permitted in this building," the Kenosha County Courthouse, "for the duration of this trial."
Numerous rumors have circulated online that there were attempts to expose members of the jury, although none have been confirmed.
A member of the media who had been allowed in the courtroom during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was kicked out and not allowed back in after they inadvertently took a photo of at least one juror. Those photographs were ordered to be deleted.
As of Thursday, the jury is now in its third day of deliberations on the five charges Rittenhouse still faces.