Vanessa Bryant awarded $16M in damages over leaked photos of the crash site where Kobe Bryant and their daughter Gianna were killed ─ eight L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies of sharing the photos among themselves.
Vanessa Bryant Awarded $16 Million in Lawsuit Over Kobe Crash Site Photos
Vanessa Bryant has won her lawsuit against Los Angeles County after a jury decided that she suffered severe emotional distress due to the death scene photos captured of her late husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant. The lawsuit accused eight L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies of sharing the photos among themselves.
A jury has ruled in favor of Vanessa Bryant in her lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and L.A. County Fire Department over alleged graphic photos from the site of the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and six others.
NBC News reports, Bryant has been awarded $16 million. Chris Chester, who lost his wife Sarah and 13-year-old daughter Payton in the crash, will also receive $15 million.
The trial began on Aug. 10 revealing harrowing details about the aftermath of the crash in Jan. 2020 that killed Kobe and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with seven other passengers. According to the lawsuit, the deputies shared them with family, friends, and strangers.
In addition, the photos were even shared at a party with fire officials. Vanessa testified that the first responders who took photos of Gianna “violated” her. Despite Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s assurances that the scene would be secured, she was devastated to learn that such images were taken. Vanessa testified that to this day she suffers from grief and anxiety at the thought that someday the crash site photos may surface.
On Sept. 22, 2020, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department released a statement. “Shortly following this tragic crash, Sheriff Alex Villanueva sponsored legislation which now makes it a crime for public safety personnel to take or share non-official pictures of this nature,” the statement read. “As a result of the swift actions we took under extraordinary circumstances, no pictures made it into the public arena. We continue to offer our heartfelt sympathies for the victims and their families.”
It’s been more than two years since Kobe, Gianna, and the seven other passengers were killed in a helicopter crash while traveling to a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California.