Vanessa Bryant testifies in lawsuit over Kobe Bryant crash photos

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LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant, the widow of late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, took the witness stand right here Friday morning, describing panic assaults and anguish suffered since studying of photos taken by and shared amongst authorities of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband, her daughter and 7 others.

“I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way they were,” Bryant stated, testifying by tears. “I don’t ever want to see these photographs shared or viewed.”

Bryant’s testimony, in a federal courthouse a pair miles from the downtown enviornment the place her late husband led the Lakers to 5 championships, marked the emotional climax of a wrenching authorized saga that’s performed out right here for the reason that January 2020 crash.

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Bryant and Chris Chester, whose spouse and daughter had been additionally among the many crash’s victims, have used the civil rights lawsuit to demand solutions from Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and firefighters about why they took grotesque cellphone photos of the accident scene after which shared them, together with at a bar and a firefighters’ gala.

Bryant stated that in late February 2020, a month after the crash, she was in a recreation room in her house together with her two young children when a information break on TV confirmed that L.A. County authorities had taken and shared illicit photos of the scene.

“I expected them to have more compassion, respect,” stated Bryant, whose testimony was anticipated to proceed Friday morning. “My husband and my daughter deserve dignity.”

The afternoon earlier than Bryant took the stand, Chester testified that he felt these solutions had been nonetheless elusive, noting the shifting rationales given by first responders who took the stand. Like Vanessa Bryant, Chester stated he was haunted by the likelihood that illicit photos of the crime scene may nonetheless floor.

County attorneys have argued that deputies and firefighters had official causes for taking photos on the scene. But courtroom testimony from these first responders has at instances bordered on humiliating. A hearth captain claimed he not remembered being on the scene and left the witness stand to gather himself thrice. Another deputy apologized for exhibiting a bartender buddy photos from the scene. Forensic evaluation has proven that cellphones and exhausting drives containing the illicit photos had been mysteriously lacking or cleaned.

Laurie Levenson, a professor of legislation at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, stated it’s the sort of embarrassing and damaging testimony that’s normally precluded by a settlement. But in this case, with Vanessa Bryant value a whole lot of thousands and thousands of {dollars}, there hasn’t been one.

“If this case wasn’t about Kobe Bryant, and if the plaintiff didn’t have the resources to pursue this to trial, I doubt that it would have ever gotten this far,” Levenson stated. “For the Bryant family, they want accountability, and they have the resources to get it.”



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