Skeptics are accusing NBC News of attempting to mislead in a Thursday statement after police alleged an MSNBC freelancer was following the bus of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial jury.
Wisconsin circuit court Judge Bruce Schroeder banned MSNBC from his courthouse on Thursday after police caught and cited a man for a traffic violation claiming to be with the network tailing the jury’s sealed bus. The man said he was under orders from a higher-up at the network in New York, according to authorities.
NBC News, a sister network to MSNBC, admitted that the man involved in the incident was a freelancer for MSNBC. NBC News denied that the man was tailing the bus, contrary to what he told police, according to authorities. NBC News also claimed that the freelancer never intended to contact jurors “during deliberations.”
“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 News said in a statement. “We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation.”
The “during deliberations” phrase of the statement received attention and criticism online as reporters and others suggested that NBC was trying to mislead and cover for sending a freelancer after the Rittenhouse trial jurors.
“*During deliberations*,” said Erielle Davidson, a senior policy analyst at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. “Full intent on seeing the jurors and contacting them after deliberations. Given the media’s generally grotesque coverage of this trial, at what point does such behavior amount to intimidation?”
Radio host Vince Coglianese remarked, “NBC promises the guy they had following the jury never intended to do anything related to journalism.”
“He said he was told to follow them. This statement doesn’t address that,” Tablet Magazine CTO Noam Blum said, referring to the freelancer’s statement to police.
NBC News did not immediately respond to a request for clarification from The Daily Wire.
Schroeder announced that he had banned MSNBC from the courthouse on Thursday after receiving a report from police.
“The matter is under further investigation at this point, and the media has asked questions about it. That’s the latest I have,” Schroeder said. “He was ticketed for violating a traffic control signal. He is not here today, from what I’m told, and I have instructed that no one from MSNBC News will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial.”
The judge added that the matter would be referred to the “proper authorities” for further investigation.
“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’s an extremely serious matter and will be referred to the proper authorities for further action,” he said.