An MSNBC journalist was pulled over by cops for following a bus transporting jurors assigned to the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, it has been revealed.
James Joseph Morrison, a 62-year-old freelancer who told police he was with MSNBC and NBC News, was stopped by officers while he trailed a the bus, which contained members of the Rittenhouse jury, on November 17.
Just a day later on November 18, Morrison was barred from the trial by Judge Bruce Schroeder, when jurors were on their third day of deliberating whether Rittenhouse should be convicted of five felony charges for killing two people and injuring a third back in last August, according to the Daily Beast.
The 18-year-old was acquitted of all charges the following day on November 19.
Bodycam footage of the incident, posted by Law & Order, shows an officer as he asks Morrison why he was following the vehicle.
‘I was trying to see—I was being called by New York, going, maybe these are people you need to follow, but I, I don’t know,’ Morrison replied, with his garbled excuse caught on camera. The producer added that he was only trying to ‘do what they told me to do,’ referring to his editors in New York.
‘It was discreet,’ Morrison told officers during the traffic stop. ‘I wasn’t, like, you know, going to talk to anybody or anything. Just trying to find a location, that’s all.’
Police believe Morrison was following the bus in an effort to obtain photographs of jurors.
Kenosha Police Lieutenant Joseph Nosalik told Law & Crime that while Morrison was not arrested for jury tampering, it was only due to the fact that the freelance producer was stopped before he had the chance to do so.
‘Ultimately, there was no arrest for jury tampering because police interrupted any opportunity to do so,’ Lt. Nosalik said.
Meanwhile, Morrison did receive a citation for violating a red traffic light, while MSNBC was banned from entering the courthouse due to what police are calling an attempted jury tampering.
‘I have instructed that no one from MSNBC will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial,’ Schroeder said.
‘This is a very serious matter. And I don’t know what the ultimate truth of it is.’
Police added that there was no breach of security regarding the jury, nor were there any photographs obtained.
Meanwhile, on Thursday NBC said in a statement that Morrison was a freelancer who coincidentally received a traffic citation near the bus carrying jurors.
‘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,’ the statement said as reported by the Daily Beast.
‘We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation.’
The investigation remains active and open, with no further information currently available, according to authorities.