MSNBC banned from Rittenhouse trial as jury deliberates for third day

 The judge in the Wisconsin murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse banned MSNBC from the courthouse after a freelancer for the media network was detained by police close to a bus carrying the jury, while the jurors on Thursday deliberated for the third day.

Rittenhouse, 18, is charged with killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and attempted homicide in the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, during a chaotic night of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 25, 2020.

Kenosha has been on edge since the start of the highly divisive trial more than two weeks ago, with the security of the jury a concern for authorities.

A person who said they had ties to NBC News and MSNBC and who was suspected of following a bus carrying the jury was briefly taken into custody on Wednesday night and issued a citation for running a red light, the trial judge said.

Earlier, the Kenosha Police Department said it suspected the person was attempting to photograph the jury of seven women and five men, which has been traveling from an unidentified location to the courthouse in a van with covered windows.

“I’ve instructed that no one from MSNBC News will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial,” Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder. “This is a very serious matter and I don’t know what the ultimate truth of it is.”

NBC News said a freelancer for the network was cited for a traffic violation but did not try to make contact with jurors.

“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,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation.”

When covering trials, some media organizations attempt to make contact with jurors to conduct interviews after the verdict.

The jury has so far spent roughly 18 hours weighing two weeks of testimony, which included considerable evidence in support of Rittenhouse’s assertion that he used his weapon after being pursued and attacked. He faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

For the last hour on Wednesday, the jury re-watched videos in evidence, including drone footage of the Rosenbaum shooting and videos of the subsequent shootings of Huber and Grosskreutz and the attempted shooting of an unidentified male.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, has pleaded not guilty and testified last week that he fired his weapon in self defense. He said Rosenbaum, the first person he shot that night, grabbed the barrel of his gun.

Defense lawyers made a new request for a mistrial on Wednesday, saying prosecutors withheld the high-definition version of a drone video in evidence and enhanced it in order to portray Rittenhouse as a threat. Prosecutors denied the defense’s allegation.

The shootings took place in Kenosha during protests – marred by arson, rioting and looting – that followed the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, who was left paralyzed from the waist down. read more

The trial has emerged as the most closely watched case involving a civilian’s to self-defense since George Zimmerman was acquitted in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, in 2013. Like Zimmerman, Rittenhouse has become a polarizing figure, viewed as heroic by some conservatives who favor expansive gun rights and as a symbol of a reckless American gun culture by many on the left.