Vanessa Bryant scored a legal victory in her lawsuit against the Los Angeles County authorities who allegedly took photos of the helicopter crash site where her husband Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed. On Tuesday (Oct. 26), Judge Charles F. Eick ruled that Sheriff Alex Villanueva and fire department Chief Daryl Osby will have to testify because they seem to have “unique first-hand, non-repetitive knowledge” that is relevant to the case.
Bryant filed a lawsuit last year alleging saying that she and her family endured emotional distress after first responders and deputies allegedly shared photos of human remains from the helicopter crash.
Lawyers who represent the county argued that the sheriff did not have any pertinent information.
“While we disagree with the court’s decision, we will make both the Sheriff and Fire Chief available for deposition,” Skip Miller, attorney for Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “Their testimony will not change the fact that there is no evidence any photos taken by County first responders have ever been publicly disseminated.”
According to Bramt’s suit, sheriff’s deputies and members of the local fire department took graphic photos of the helicopter crash victims and images of Kobe’s remains were shared with a bartender and a patron at a local bar.
During a deposition earlier this month, Bryant said she pleaded with Villanueva to ensure that no one would take photos. “I said, if you can’t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure no one takes photographs of them. Please secure the area,” the widow reportedly said.
Villanueva said he secured the area and reportedly told Bryant, “All is good. The area is secure.”
Bryant also shared how she found out about the Jan. 26, 2020 helicopter crash from social media. “I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe,’” she recalled. Up until that moment, Bryant believed that Kobe and their daughter were possible survivors of the crash.