Bodycam footage from Kenosha police appears to show NBC freelance journalist James Morrison admit trailing the Kyle Rittenhouse jury bus on his network’s orders.
As the jury deliberated for several days on whether or not to acquit Kyle Rittenhouse, tensions heightened when Judge Bruce Schroeder barred MSNBC from the courtroom after Kenosha police caught James Morrison allegedly following the jury bus during a red light violation. At the time, NBC did not deny Morrison was told to follow the jury. The network said in a 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.
We regret the incident and will fully cooperate with the authorities on any investigation.
In the bodycam footage released this week, the man, believed to be Morrison, identified himself as an NBC producer at the time of the stop, saying he was “trying to do what they told me to do.”
“I work for NBC. [I’m a] producer,” the man said in the video.
“Were you following a vehicle?” the police officer asked.
“I was trying to see … I was being called by New York, maybe you need to follow up.., I was trying to do what they told me to do,” responded the man.
“New York told you to follow a vehicle?” the officer asked.
“Yes,” the man replied.
When the officer asked how New York knew about the vehicle, the man replied that it was “discreet” and he was “just trying to find a location.”
The man then called his New York office and handed the phone over to the officer, who then spoke to a woman identifying herself as NBC booking producer Irene Byon. Upon being questioned, Byon struggled to give a coherent answer, telling the officer the network was just trying to see where “key players in the trial may be at.”
We were just trying to respectfully, um, just trying to see if it’s, um, if it’s possible to, um, To find any leads about, um, about the case. And so we were, we, uh, we were just keeping our distance, um, just to see like where, um, people involved in the trial are positioned. By no means, where are we trying to get in contact with any of the jury members in the car, we just were, him, trying to see like where, um, key players in the trial may be at.
The officer then advised Irene Byon to “refrain from doing that,” warning that it puts people in “dangerous positions.”
“This is huge. We can’t afford anything crazy happening,” said the officer.
Byon said she “understood” and apologized.
Documents released by the police department show that Morrison was only cited for violating the red traffic light.