Kobe Bryant's Widow's Lawsuit Against LA Will Only Expose The Morbid Photos She Wants Kept Out Of Media

By Eliana Regev | Sunday, 14 August 2022 05:15
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A grieving woman who lost her husband and her daughter to tragedy is suing Los Angeles County over allegations that first responders took selfies with the mutilated bodies of her kin. The problem here is that none of these pictures have been seen by anyone besides the few people who took them, and now, actual accident scene photos locked away are being made public for the trial.

While Vanessa Bryant cried in a Los Angeles court Wednesday, her attorney explained how sheriff’s deputies and firefighters shared pictures of her late husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna’s mangled remains after being killed in a helicopter crash in 2020. The trial is certain to introduce images that she would not want the world to see, so the question remains why is she doing this?

The 40-year-old widow, who wore a fitted black suit and had a band on her left ring finger, cried into a tissue as the court heard that one deputy even referred to her loved ones as “piles of meat” in a deposition.

“Jan 26, 2020, will always be the worst day of Vanessa Bryant’s life,” Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, announced to the jury throughout opening statements. “County employees explored and took pictures as souvenirs. They poured salt into an unbearable wound.”

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Bryant’s federal invasion-of-privacy-suit trial launched Wednesday in federal court more than two years after the NBA Hall of Famer was killed along with the couple’s 13-year-old daughter and seven others in a January 2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas.

Although there are no pictures in the public domain, on social media, or even sleaze-peddling news outlets like TMZ, she is seeking unspecified millions in damages in her suit against Los Angeles County over graphic snapshots of the wreck that first responders allegedly passed around.

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The images were shared on “at least 28 [Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies] devices and by at least a dozen firefighters,” some of whom touted the photos like trophies “in a bar while pantomiming dismemberment and showing off the photos over cocktails at an awards gala,” Bryant’s lawsuit alleges.

Li announced that one of the deputies who replied to the crash site walked around the wreckage and snapped close-up pictures of the NBA legend’s dismembered body parts. One deputy took a firefighter up and down the crash site where he identified possible body parts, and the firefighter took pictures, Li said.

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In one deposition heard in court, Det. Scott Miller announced the pictures were sent to him, and he asked his wife if she wanted to see the gruesome pictures, but she said no. “I told her there were piles of meat,” Miller stated in an interview and then laughed loudly in the recording.

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Vanessa Bryant broke down after hearing the crass comment.

Miller proceeded to say that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and others in his department were confronted roughly by deputies sharing the pictures at a bar and with family. Still, Villanueva denied knowledge of a complaint lodged to his department.

Li announced a man who was at a bar in Norco, California when he happened to see Deputy Joey Cruz share the pictures on his iPhone with a bartender. Li played a video of the encounter, which showed the bartender wincing and stepping back in shock when he looked at the phone screen.

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Moments later, Cruz was seen giggling at the bar. The man who witnessed Cruz sharing the picture reported it to the sheriff’s office, he announced.

Around the same time, Li stated, a county firefighter’s wife reported to fire officials that several first responders were sharing and discussing the graphic crash photos at an awards show.

Capt. Matthew Vander Horch emailed his superiors regarding the complaint and said he would look into an investigation, Li stated. Although the Sheriff’s Department intervened and stopped the investigation, Vander Horch said in a deposition.

The attorney claimed that the sheriff’s deputies were told to erase everything in their phones and buy new ones.

Villanueva was questioned a month after the crash over reports that his deputies were sharing photos. The sheriff said it was not uncommon that deputies would take pictures of the dead bodies at incidents and collect them as keepsakes in “death books.”

In a separate video, Villanueva clarified that just coroners and National Transit Safety Board officials should be permitted to take pictures of these types of incidents for investigation purposes only, and that no one else is allowed to.

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