In his August 2022 opening statements, Vanessa’s lawyer Luis Li claimed that cell phone photos from the wreckage were shared by a deputy and fire captain “for a laugh,” and that there was no official cause for them to have been taken within the first place. “Jan. 26, 2020, was and always will be the worst day of Vanessa Bryant’s life,” he instructed the jury, in accordance to the Associated Press. “They took and shared pictures of Kobe and Gianna as souvenirs. … They poured salt in an unhealable wound.”
The basketball legend died at the age of 41 alongside his then 13-year-old daughter and seven different passengers when the helicopter they were on crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California.
Li alleged that on the day of the crash, first responders “walked around the wreckage and took pictures of broken bodies from the helicopter crash. They took close-ups of limbs, of burnt flesh. It shocks the conscience.” He argued that the images have been then “shared repeatedly with people who had absolutely no reason to receive them.”
Per the AP, the lawyer then confirmed a video clip of Deputy Joey Cruz, one of many defendants, exhibiting grotesque footage of the crash and Kobe’s physique to a bartender whereas out at a neighborhood bar. While Li made his remarks, Vanessa quietly cried from her seat within the courtroom.
In May 2020, the philanthropist filed a declare towards the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly sharing photos of the scene of the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna. Four months later, she filed a lawsuit alleging that eight sheriff’s deputies took footage of the wreckage on their cell telephones for their private use. According to courtroom paperwork, Vanessa claimed that she learned about the photos from a report in the Los Angeles Times and then reached out to the Sheriff’s Office to ask concerning the state of affairs and see if she ought to “brace for pictures of her loved ones’ remains to surface on the internet.”
The submitting argues that “the Sheriff’s Department’s outrageous actions have caused Mrs. Bryant severe emotional distress and compounded the trauma of losing Kobe and Gianna. Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online.”
She is suing for unspecified damages because of emotional misery.
In courtroom, L.A. County legal professionals argued that the case has no authorized benefit as a result of the images have been by no means leaked to the general public. “It is undisputed that the complained-of photos have never been in the media, on the Internet, or otherwise publicly disseminated. Plaintiff Vanessa Bryant has never seen county photos of her family members,” the legal professionals stated, per the AP. “They’re not online. They’re not in the media. They’ve never even been seen by the plaintiffs themselves. … That is not an accident.”
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