Kobe Bryant’s wife gives moving testimony in helicopter crash photos – Connect FM | Local news radio
(LOS ANGELES) – An emotional Vanessa Bryant spoke out Friday in her privacy invasion lawsuit over photos taken at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, basketball star Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter.
Bryant filed a lawsuit several months after the 2020 accident against Los Angeles County, alleging that first responders took graphic photos of human remains at the scene as “memorabilia” and shared them with d ‘others. She claims to have suffered emotional distress and is suing for an undisclosed amount of damages for negligence and invasion of privacy.
Bryant, the plaintiffs’ latest witness, was overcome with emotion in the federal courtroom in Los Angeles on Friday as she shared her fear and anxiety over the photos.
“I never had a panic attack before that,” she told the jury.
Bryant said he learned from a Los Angeles Times report that deputies took photos of the crash site. She said she lives in fear every day that they could be leaked and that she wants “justice for my husband and my daughter”.
Kobe Bryant and their daughter, Gianna, were heading to a basketball game at his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks with others connected to the basketball program on January 26, 2020, when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in Calabasas. All nine people on board, including the pilot, were killed.
Orange County Financial Advisor Chris Chester is also suing the county over photos taken of his wife and daughter, who were killed in the same accident. In July, U.S. District Judge John Walter decided to consolidate Bryant’s and Chester’s cases into one trial.
Chester took the witness stand on Thursday, telling the jury he was ‘in disbelief’ after hearing reports that deputies and firefighters took and shared photos of his wife, Sarah, and their 13-year-old daughter , Payton.
“It was heartbreak on top of heartbreak,” he said, calling for “justice and accountability.”
LA County maintains that first responders have not publicly shared any photos from the crash scene. He also attests that an investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Office of Internal Affairs confirmed that all of the photos were destroyed.
During the trial, which began on August 10, the defense also argued that the photos had not surfaced online since the tragedy. Firefighters and sheriff’s staff in several counties also testified that they had deleted any photos of the crash site they had on their cellphones.
Bryant and Chester’s lawsuits allege the photos were shared before being deleted by first responders.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who ordered deputies to remove the photos, is also expected to testify Friday as the first defense witness.
ABC News’ Kyla Guilfoil contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.