Yesterday (Aug. 10), jury selection began in a trial against Los Angeles County. Vanessa Bryant, wife of the late basketball great Kobe Bryant, filed a lawsuit against the county after his death. On Jan. 26, 2020, Kobe, his daughter Gianna and six others died when a helicopter they were traveling in crashed in Calabasas, California. Vanessa’s lawsuit claims the county sheriff’s office and fire department took photos of the crash and spread them online without consent from the family. She also alleges it was not for investigative purposes.
The amount Vanessa is seeking from the lawsuit has not been specified, but sources say the number is in the millions. The lawsuit states a firefighter showed the crash site photos to off-duty coworkers. It also says a deputy showed the pictures to bar patrons. In addition to sharing the photos, The Los Angeles Times published a story about an alleged cover-up attempt by deputies to destroy the leaked pictures. The request reportedly came at the hands of the sheriff.
The lawsuit reads, “Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought that sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and members of the public have gawked at gratuitous images of her deceased husband and child.” It continues, “She lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online.” The filings also stated “internet trolls” claimed “to have seen photos of the victims’ remains.”
“Their accounts are plausible given the number of individuals who took and transmitted improper photos, the ease with which cell phone photos are electronically shared and saved in cloud storage, and the egregious failure to take reasonable steps to prevent dissemination of the photos,” the lawsuit adds. At the time of the crash, Kobe, Gianna, and five other parents and players were traveling to a girls’ basketball tournament when the chartered helicopter lost control.