This morning, MSNBC was banned from the Rittenhouse trial and courthouse after one of their reporters allegedly tried to photograph the jurors and expose their identities. The reporter, James Morrison, reported that he was instructed to follow the jurors’ bus by MSNBC producer Irene Byon.
On Wednesday night, November 17, Morrison ran a red light while trying to follow the jury bus and was pulled over by law enforcement. Morrison told the authorities that he had received instruction from Irene Byon to follow the bus. While he did not admit an intent to take pictures, it is unclear why else he would be following the bus other than to obtain photographs of the jurors.
Judge Bruce Schroeder shared this information with the court this morning and said, “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.”
Shroeder also announced that “no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial.”
full clip with info and msnbc banned pic.twitter.com/fKevXHQu6I
— oak_tree_upheaval (@oaktreeupheaval) November 18, 2021
Byon, a booking producer with NBC in New York, is the individual suspected of directing the journalist to follow the jury bus. Since this all surfaced, Byon has deleted her social media accounts including LinkedIn and Twitter, but not before some users were able to screenshot evidence of her working for NBC.
Someone tweeted Irene's linkedin at me so there's that
According to that they got their NBC News New York job in August of this year pic.twitter.com/f3INLKsTjU
— crabcrawler (@crabcrawler1) November 18, 2021
While NBC has confirmed that Morrison was working for them as a freelance journalist, they maintained that he never intended to photograph them. Questions still remain, then, regarding what the journalist was trying to accomplish by following the bus.
NBC News 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" (1/2)
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 18, 2021
The Kenosha Police Department Tweeted out that the incident is still being investigated, but the suspicion remains that the journalist was trying to obtain photographs of the jurors. Fortunately, there was no breach of security.
There was no breach of security regarding the jury, nor were there any photographs obtained. This investigation remains active and open, no further information.
— Kenosha Police Dept. (@KenoshaPolice) November 18, 2021