The judge presiding over the double homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has barred MSNBC from the courtroom after police detained a man who claimed to work for the outlet was allegedly trying to photograph jurors.
Kenosha Police Department reported that the man was “briefly taken into custody” on 17 November but “there was no breach of security regarding the jury, nor were there any photographs obtained”.
As jurors deliberate on a verdict for a third day on 18 November, Judge Bruce Schroeder told the court that a man who claimed to work with MSNBC ran a traffic light behind a “sealed bus” with covered windows that has been transporting jurors to the courtroom. He was issued several traffic-related citations, according to the Kenosha Police Department.
He told the courtroom that “no one from MSNBC News” will be permitted in the building for the duration of the trial.
“This is a very serious matter, and I don’t know what the ultimate truth of it is,” Judge Schroeder said. “But absolutely, it would go without much thinking, that someone who is following a jury bus, that is an extremely serious matter, and will be referred to the proper authorities for further action.”
In a statement, NBC News said that “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,” according to the statement.
The Independent has requested comment from the Kenosha Police Department and MSNBC.
Mr Rittenhouse faces five felonies after fatally shooting two men and injuring another in the aftermath of police brutality protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin on 25 August 2020.
Jurors deliberated for nearly 17 hours, as of Thursday morning.
Now in its 14th day, the trial – which is being televised – has drawn international news attention that has pulled the judge, defence attorneys, prosecutors and proceedings into a 24-hour news cycle and partisan political coverage.
Over two weeks, jurors watched more than a dozen pieces of video, including livestreams, an interview Mr Rittenhouse gave moments before he fired his gun, body camera footage, and aerial video from the FBI.
They also heard testimony from police, people who witnessed the shootings, the man who survived, and Mr Rittenhouse himself.
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