BUSINESS: Rittenhouse Judge Bans MSNBC From Courthouse After Staffer Allegedly Follows Jury Bus

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BUSINESS:

BUSINESS: Topline

On Thursday, the judge in Kyle Rittenhouse’s homicide trial barred MSNBC employees from entering his Kenosha courthouse. This was after a person associated with the network had been pulled over by police next to a jury van. This incident, NBC regrets.

Judge Bruce Schroeder is seated in front of a large video monitor as Kyle Rittenhouse and attorneys … [+] for both sides argue about a video on November 12, 2021 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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BUSINESS: Key Facts

Judge Bruce Schroeder stated that police pulled over a man claiming he was a NBC or MSNBC producer. The man claimed he was running a red light on Wednesday night and told officers a bus carrying jurors from court to a different location had given him the assignment.

Schröder stated that the issue is still being investigated, but that he has blocked MSNBC from entering the courthouse during the Rittenhouse trial.

NBC News confirmed to Forbes a freelancer was given a traffic citation near the jury van, but the person “never contacted or intended to contact the jurors during deliberations, and never photographed or intended to photograph them” (a network spokesperson didn’t immediately respond when asked whether its freelancer was asked to follow the bus or planned to contact jurors after deliberations end).

The Kenosha Police Department tweeted it gave traffic citations to a person who claimed to work for a national news outlet, and officers believed he was attempting to photograph jurors, but there was “no breach of security regarding the jury.”

NBC News told Forbes “we regret the incident” and will cooperate with any investigation.

BUSINESS: Crucial Quote

“This matter is very serious and I don’t know the ultimate truth but it is something that would be easy to think that someone following a jury bus is extremely serious,” Schroeder stated.

BUSINESS: Key Background

Jurors began to deliberate in the Rittenhouse case Tuesday. The 18-year-old was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and several other counts for fatally shooting two people and injuring a third during a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August 2020. National attention has been paid to the shooting and trial. Commentators on the right support Rittenhouse’s self defense claims, while left-leaning critics see Rittenhouse as a vigilante. However, the court has tried to protect jurors from the heated discourse surrounding their work. Schroeder told the jury “this is not a political trial” during jury selection earlier this month, and some potential jurors weren’t empaneled because they already had strong opinions on the incident, the Associated Press reported. The judge has repeatedly warned jurors not to discuss the trial or read about it for the duration of the case, and two weeks ago, he removed one juror for making a joke about the Blake shooting to a courtroom deputy.

BUSINESS: Surprising Fact

Jurors in high-profile criminal trials are sometimes “sequestered,” or isolated from outside contact, but Schroeder has not taken this step in the Rittenhouse case.

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