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Kobe Bryant’s widow takes legal action against LA Sheriff over leaked photos of NBA star’s body

Kobe Bryant’s widow goes on trial Wednesday in her multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over leaked photos of the bodies of the NBA star and his daughter, both of whom died in a helicopter crash in 2020 .

Vanessa Bryant, in her federal privacy invasion lawsuit, alleges lawmakers did not take the photos for investigative purposes and shared them with firefighters responding to the crash site.

“Close-up images of Gianna and Kobe’s remains were passed around on at least 28 sheriff’s department devices and by at least a dozen firefighters and were shown in bars and at an awards gala,” the lawsuit says.

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and other parents and players were flying to a girls’ basketball tournament when their chartered helicopter crashed in fog in the hills of Calabasas west of Los Angeles on January 26, 2020.

Vanessa Bryant's suit claims that

Vanessa Bryant’s suit claims that “Close-ups of Gianna and Kobe’s remains were passed around on at least 28 devices owned by the sheriff’s department and by at least a dozen firefighters and were shown in bars and at an awards gala.”

A month before the fatal crash, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant pose for a photo at Sean Combs' 50th birthday party in Los Angeles

A month before the fatal crash, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant pose for a photo at Sean Combs’ 50th birthday party in Los Angeles

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were pictured courtside at a Lakers game in December 2019 — a month before the fatal helicopter crash

Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were pictured courtside at a Lakers game in December 2019 — a month before the fatal helicopter crash

Vanessa Bryant reportedly asked authorities not to allow anyone to take photos of their bodies, but claimed she later learned firefighters and lawmakers were passing around photos (Image: The Calabasas crash site in January 2020).

Vanessa Bryant reportedly asked authorities not to allow anyone to take photos of their bodies, but claimed she later learned firefighters and lawmakers were passing around photos (Image: The Calabasas crash site in January 2020).

‘Woman. Bryant feels sick at the thought that the sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and members of the public gratuitously stared at pictures of her late husband and child,” the lawsuit reads. “She lives in fear that one day she or her children will be confronted with horrific images of her loved ones on the internet.”

Vanessa’s attorney said a private individual attending the 2020 Golden Mike Awards — a television awards night that took place less than a month after the crash — witnessed LA Fire Department Public Information Officer Tony Imbrenda speak about the photos and she showed others.

A bartender in Norwalk, California, said a Los Angeles police officer showed him the photos.

The widow reportedly told LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva on the day of the crash, Jan. 26, 2020, to secure the crash site and not allow photos when she learned there were no survivors.

“If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure nobody takes pictures of them,” she said.

Federal security officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.

The new documents also reveal details that the photos were shown in at least two bars in the days after the crash. A bartender in Norwalk, California, said a Los Angeles police officer showed him the photos at the bar

The new documents also reveal details that the photos were shown in at least two bars in the days after the crash. A bartender in Norwalk, California, said a Los Angeles police officer showed him the photos at the bar

Vanessa has previously said that the photos showing the deaths of her husband and daughter were

Vanessa has previously said that the photos showing the deaths of her husband and daughter were “out there,” causing her “constant fear and anxiety,” and that she had trouble sleeping and was depressed as a result

Vanessa Bryant has also sued the late pilot’s helicopter charter company and estate.

The county has argued that Bryant suffered emotional distress from the deaths, not the photos, which the sheriff ordered removed.

They said the photos have never been publicly shared in the media, on the internet or otherwise, and that the lawsuit is speculative about the harm she may suffer.

A law prompted by the crash makes it a criminal offense for first responders to take unauthorized photographs of the deceased at the scene of an accident or crime.

The county has already agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve a similar case brought by two families whose relatives died in the Jan. 26, 2020 crash.

Vanessa Bryant has not settled her case, suggesting she is looking for more.

The litigation was ugly at times.

When the county requested a psychiatric evaluation of Bryant to determine if she was suffering from emotional distress as a result of the photos, her attorneys criticized the “scorched earth discovery tactic” used to harass her and other victims’ family members into dropping their lawsuits.

The county responded by saying they were ok with Bryant’s losses and dismissed her case as a “money heist.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11098949/Kobe-Bryants-widow-goes-court-against-LA-Sheriff-leaked-photos-NBA-stars-corpse.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Kobe Bryant’s widow takes legal action against LA Sheriff over leaked photos of NBA star’s body

Bradford Betz

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