Mark J. Terrill/AP
LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant was 1 of the most photogenic sports figures in Los Angeles and photos of him noticed by millions about the planet — smiling in victory, grimacing in agony — maintain his memory alive.
But some photographs of him really should never ever be noticed, his widow says, and she’s in search of unspecified millions in compensation for snapshots taken of the NBA star’s corpse that have been circulated right after he was killed in a helicopter crash with their daughter and seven others in 2020.
Vanessa Bryant’s invasion of privacy trial against the Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire departments starts Wednesday in a U.S. District Court just more than a mile from exactly where Kobe Bryant played most of his profession with the Lakers.
Vanessa Bryant claims deputies did not take the photographs for investigative purposes and shared them with firefighters who responded to the crash scene. The lawsuit mentioned a deputy showed the photographs to bar patrons and a firefighter showed them to off-duty colleagues.
“Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the believed that sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and members of the public have gawked at gratuitous photos of her deceased husband and kid,” according to the lawsuit. “She lives in worry that she or her young children will 1 day confront horrific photos of their loved ones on the net.”
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and other parents and players have been flying to a girls basketball tournament when their chartered helicopter crashed in the Calabasas hills west of Los Angeles in fog. Federal security officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.
Vanessa Bryant has also sued the helicopter charter corporation and the deceased pilot’s estate.
The county has argued that Bryant has suffered emotional distress from the deaths, not the photographs, which have been ordered deleted by Sheriff Alex Villanueva. They mentioned the photographs have never ever been in the media, on the online or otherwise publicly disseminated and that the lawsuit is speculative about harm she might endure.
A law prompted by the crash tends to make it a crime for very first responders to take unauthorized photographs of deceased folks at the scene of an accident or crime.
The county currently agreed to spend $two.five million to settle a comparable case brought by two households whose relatives died in the Jan. 26, 2020, crash.
Vanessa Bryant did not settle her case, indicating she’s in search of additional.
The litigation has at occasions been ugly.
When the county sought a psychiatric evaluation of Bryant to identify if she suffered emotional distress due to the fact of the photographs, her lawyers criticized the “scorched-earth discovery techniques” to bully her and other family members members of victims to abandon their lawsuits.
The county responded by saying they have been sympathetic to Bryant’s losses and dismissed her case as a “revenue grab.”