During the trial over the stolen photographs of Kobe Bryant and Gianna’s remains following their deadly 2020 helicopter crash, Bryant declared, “I’m willing to go to hell and back to achieve justice for my family.”
Vanessa Bryant claimed she wanted to “run down the block and scream” when she found out that Los Angeles County officials were secretly sharing pictures of her husband’s and daughter’s bodies after they died in a helicopter crash in 2020.
In his testimony on Friday in a federal courtroom in Los Angeles, Bryant said, “It was like the sense of wanting to run down a pier and plunge into the water.” “My inability to flee is the issue. I am unable to leave my body.
On the eighth day of her trial against LA County, Bryant testified for three hours on the witness stand on Friday. She claims in her lawsuit that after her late husband Kobe Bryant, 41, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed along with seven other people in a helicopter crash in January 2020, deputies from the LA County sheriff’s and fire departments caused her emotional distress by sharing images of them. She also accuses them of negligence and invasion of privacy.
The chopper crashed into a hillside in Calabasas while trying to ascend above a hill blanketed in fog while en route to a ladies basketball game at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks.
Deputies “stared” at Bryant when she arrived at the Malibu sheriff’s office that day, according to Bryant.
“I entered and enquired as to their location. I inquired frequently. She stated, “They simply stared at me. Who are they? What have they done?
She claimed that she asked the publicist who was accompanying LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva when they met privately to confirm the fatalities to leave.
Bryant recounted expressly requesting Villanueva, “If you can’t bring my husband and kid back, you make sure that no one gets images of them,” during her testimony because she was worried about the paparazzi. Please make the area secure. He then said, “I will.” And I responded, “No, I need you to make sure you secure the area and get on the phone right now.
Vanessa Bryant testifies she was 'blindsided' by leaked photos https://t.co/E2DWv4gnlT
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) August 20, 2022
However, the LA Times claimed a few weeks later that sheriff’s officials had distributed graphic images of the crash site.
According to testimony from a patron of the Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk, a bartender told him that a sheriff’s deputy had shown him gruesome images from the crash site. Raphael Mendez Jr., the customer, said that the deputy was “showing photographs of [Kobe Bryant’s] decapitated body” in his written complaint posted to the sheriff’s department website.
I was in astonishment, Mendez said earlier this week during the trial. I felt humiliated, indignant, and disappointed.
When she learned of the LA Times piece, Bryant claimed she was with her girls and holding her infant Capri, who was seven months old at the time.
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Bryant said in court on Friday, “I raced out of the home and around to the side so my girls wouldn’t see.” “I was again taken by surprise, devastated, and heartbroken. I believed them. I had faith that they wouldn’t do these things.”
She remarked, “I expected them to have more empathy and respect. “My daughter and my husband deserve respect.”
After Bryant completed speaking, the county’s first witness, Villanueva, was called to the witness stand. Deputies were warned by the sheriff that they would not face punishment if they destroyed images. The deletion of the photographs, according to Bryant’s attorneys, was an attempt to “cover-up.”
In response to Friday’s cross-examination, Villanueva stated, “I assume they were all removed.” He remarked, “I’m quite sure that’s accurate,” noting that there haven’t been any images released in the previous two and a half years. God knows that’s about it, he continued.
She told the court that she can’t sleep because she worries that these pictures could end up online and be seen by her and Kobe’s other three daughters, Capri age 3, Bianka, 5, and Natalia age 19. Bryant stated that since finding out about the images, she has experienced panic episodes.
She claimed, “I live in worry every day that these photographs may appear on social media.” “I constantly worry about my girls using social media and these things appearing.”
In September 2020, Bryant brought a lawsuit against the county. Christopher Chester joined the lawsuit after his wife and children perished in the helicopter incident. Two other victims’ families each received a $1.25 million settlement for the exposed photos last year.
Bryant said in court on Friday, “I’m willing to go to hell and back to obtain justice for my family.”
After her testimony, her attorneys decided to withdraw.