FTVLive told you yesterday that Jurors in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial said that a WHDH news vehicle followed the jury bus to the parking lot where they parked their cars.
The judge in the case was not happy and the News Photographer that was driving the vehicle admitted that he did it.
The judge called WHDH Photographer Bob Cusanelli to the stand. She wanted information from him about something a juror told her this morning.
Cusanelli told the judge under oath he did follow a bus full of jurors after deliberations ended for the day Wednesday so 7News would know where to interview jurors if they wanted to talk after the verdict.
But the photographer never approached a juror, talked to a juror, or photographed a juror.
Cusanelli also said he didn't record license plates of anyone on the jury.
"I saw the bus at the back of the court. I was available and saw the opportunity to follow the bus and find the location where the jurors were parking their cars," said Cusanelli in open court.
"Did anybody from WHDH instruct you to follow the bus?" asked Michael Gass, WHDH legal counsel.
"Not specifically but I knew they felt that was good information to have," Cusanelli said.
The issue came to light Thursday morning when two jurors told Judge Susan Garsh they spotted a man in a silver Ford Explorer who seemed to be watching them.
According to the official court transcript, one juror said: "It started to drive slow as they seen it was us. And they were looking at us. And then they went down the road and then turned up the street."
The other juror reported the car seemed to circle around.
Cusanelli explained "I pulled over at a metered spot and entered my location into my GPS. I then entered the location of this courthouse to get back to where I wanted to pick up my reporter, and I followed my GPS around the block, which brought me past the parking lot a second time to get back to this courthouse."
Judge Garsh talked in open court about the issue.
"This is an extraordinarily serious matter. There is a statute - I think it's a 10-year felony statute - that prohibits any form of juror harassment," said Garsh.
The judge asked, "anything at all about that that would in any way affect your ability to be fair and impartial?"
The juror answered, "no."
WHDH attorney Michael Gass spoke in court.
“Channel 7 as a news organization obviously takes these issues very seriously, they take their role in reporting important matters such as this trial seriously. But they also take very seriously protecting the provenance of the jury. I think what happened here in fairness, your honor, is an experienced photographer made a snap decision at the time that in hindsight was not a very good one and is sorry,” Gass said.
The judge ordered that Cusanelli be barred from the Hernandez trial.
Asked if he thought this was a fair decision, Gass said "I think it was, yes. The photographer certainly had no intention of interacting with the jurors in any way."