NBC is denying that MSNBC producer Irene Byon instructed freelance photographer James Morrison to follow the Kyle Rittenhouse trial’s jury bus. Morrison was pulled over by Kenosha police after running a red light in an attempt to catch up to the bus.
Fox News today reported that Morrison told police it was Byon who instructed him to chase the bus.
“The jury in this case is being transported from a different location in a bus with windows covered … Last evening a person who identified himself as James J. Morrison, and who claimed that he was a producer with NBC News, for MSNBC … police, when they stopped him, because he was following in the distance of about a block and went through a red light, pulled him over and inquired of him what was going on and he gave that information and stated that he had been instructed by Mrs. [MSNBC booking producer Irene] Byon to follow the jury bus,” Schroeder said to the court on Thursday.
Now, Byon has rubbed her social media accounts and has gone into online hiding. Her LinkedIn account, which identifies her as a Booking News Producer has been shut down. Twitter reports her account “doesn’t exist anymore“.
Earlier, Shore News Network reported:
MSNBC has been barred by Wisconsin Judge Bruce Schroeder after a photographer on assignment for the network trailed the jury bus and was pulled over by the Kenosha Police Department.
“I have instructed that no one from MSNBC news will be permitted in this building for the duration of this trial,” Judge Schroeder 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 the jury bus – that is an extremely serious matter and will be referred to the proper authorities for further action.”
James J. Morrison, a freelance photographer for MSNBC said he was directed by the network to follow the bus at the direction of a supervisor for the network in New York City.
MSNBC denied the report.
“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. We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation,” the network said in a statement.
The Kenosha Police Department issued a statement regarding the incident.
“Last night a person who is alleging to be affiliated with a national media outlet was briefly taken into custody and issued several traffic-related citations,” the Kenosha Police Department said. “Police suspect this person was trying to photograph jurors.”
The department would not comment on any other details of the ongoing investigation into the incident. The MSNBC associate allegedly ran a red light in order to keep up with the bus.
MSNBC did not say why the photographer was shadowing the juror bus, but it is suspected that the network wanted to obtain photos of jurors for post-trial coverage and obtain personal information on the panel.
The Kenosha Police Department said it is taking the perceived threat against the jury seriously.
“This incident is being investigated much further,” the department said. “There was no breach of security regarding the jury, nor were there any photographs obtained. This investigation remains active and open, no further information.”