How Vanessa Bryant won a stunning legal victory involving gruesome Kobe crash photos

In February 2020, the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others.

The revelation sparked a major scandal in the Sheriff’s Department, culminating on Wednesday when a jury ordered Los Angeles County to award Vanessa Bryant, widow of Lakers star Kobe Bryant, and another man $31 million in damages to count.

The trial marked the culmination of an intense two-year personal legal battle for Vanessa Bryant and Chris Chester, who lost their daughter and wife in the crash. Bryant has often expressed outrage at MPs’ behavior.

Last week, Bryant said on the witness stand that she was watching TV with her family at home when she learned that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies had shared gruesome photos of the helicopter crash involving her husband and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna , died .

Portrait illustration of Kobe and Gianna Bryant with a wall of fan embassies surrounding them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven others.

(Constance Brantley / For the Times)

“I stormed out of the house,” Vanessa Bryant testified in federal court in Los Angeles on Friday. Finding a spot where her other three daughters couldn’t hear her, she said, “I broke down and cried, and I wanted to run down the block and just scream.”

Bryant said she feels betrayed by MPs she trusted to protect her family.

“I expected them to have more compassion – respect,” Bryant testified. “My husband and daughter deserve dignity.”

During the trial, her attorneys documented how photos from the phones of deputies and firefighters at the crash site on a steep hillside in Calabasas had spread: they were flashed from a deputy sheriff’s phone screen to a bartender in Norwalk. They were shown to firefighters and their spouses during an awards gala at a Universal City hotel in what one witness said amounted to a “party trick.” They were passed from one MP to another while the couple played video games.

Following the verdict, Vanessa Bryant posted a photo of her, Kobe and Gigi to Instagram with the caption, “All for you! I love you. JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi.”

Here is a summary of The Times’ coverage of the crash photo scandal: How Vanessa Bryant won a stunning legal victory involving gruesome Kobe crash photos

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