Vanessa Bryant will not have to undergo a psychiatric examination as part of her lawsuit against Los Angeles County over leaked photos of the helicopter crash scene where her husband Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed.
According to the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick ruled on Monday (Nov. 1) that the county’s motion for Bryant to take the evaluation was “untimely” because the trial was scheduled to begin in February. Attorneys for the county argued that the widow was not suffering from emotional distress over the graphic photos because she has never seen them and they were never shared with the public.
“The fact remains that no crash site photos taken by first responders have ever been publicly disseminated, as Ms. Bryant confirmed in her deposition,” Skip Miller, attorney for Los Angeles County, said. “We totally sympathize with the enormous loss she has suffered. But as a legal matter, we don’t believe she could be harmed by something that didn’t occur.”
Luis Li, who represents Bryant, contended that a psych exam was not necessary to prove that his client was in distress.
“The County’s tactics are simply a cruel attempt to extract a price for victims to obtain accountability,” Li wrote in a court filing. “Rather than take accountability for conduct the Sheriff himself has called ‘wildly inappropriate’ and ‘disgusting,’ the County has chosen to pull out all the stops to make the case as painful as possible.”
Last year, Bryant filed a lawsuit against the county after learning that first responders and deputies took graphic photos of the remains of the January 26, 2020 crash. Images of Kobe’s body were reportedly shared with a bartender and a patron at a local bar by a deputy trainee. A firefighter also showed the gruesome photos to a group of off-duty firefighters and their partners.