Judge bans MSNBC from Rittenhouse trial

The judge presiding over Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial in Kenosha, Wis., has barred journalists working for MSNBC from the courthouse after an incident during which a freelance producer for the network allegedly followed the jury bus on Wednesday evening in an attempt to take pictures of jurors. 

"I have instructed that nobody from MSNBC News be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial," Judge Bruce Schroeder said in the courtroom on Thursday afternoon. "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 ... that is an extremely serious matter and will be referred to the proper authorities for further action." 

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The Kenosha News reported on Wednesday night that a producer for MSNBC, whom the network has identified as a freelancer, was arrested after he allegedly tried to take photos of jurors. 

Police said no photos of any jurors were actually taken, the newspaper reported, but the individual was taken in for violating a traffic control signal. The producer reportedly told officers he had followed the jury bus at the direction of his boss in New York City, where NBCUniversal's headquarters are located. 

"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," NBC said in a statement issued to several media outlets on Thursday afternoon. "We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation."

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The jury in the Rittenhouse case has been deliberating a verdict for the last several days. Rittenhouse has been charged with felony intentional murder, among other things, after shooting and killing two people in Kenosha during civil unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Another person was injured in the incident. 

Schroeder has made headlines during the trial for several controversial statements about the jury pool, the prosecution and the news media's coverage of the case. 

“I’m going to think long and hard about live television in the trial again next time,” Schroeder said earlier during the trial. “I’ve always been a firm believer in it because I think the people should be able to see what’s going on. But to see what’s being done is really quite frightening.”