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L.A. County claims Vanessa Bryant lacks basis in lawsuit over helicopter crash photos

The County has taken “correction personnel actions” against the four deputies who shared the photos but doesn’t believe Bryant has “viable legal claims.”

Vanessa Bryant Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The Los Angeles County responded to Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit over photos that were once shared of the helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Kobe and Gianna Bryant. In a recent court filing, the county said that punitive measures were taken following the incident but argued against Bryant’s decision to take legal action.

“The County does not condone this showing of accident site photographs and has taken corrective personnel actions accordingly,” said the filing by the county. “That does not mean, however, that Plaintiff has viable legal claims.”

For the last year, Bryant has been embroiled in a legal battle with the L.A. County and the four deputies who shared photos of those who passed away in the fatal accident.

The leaks, she explained, were an invasion of privacy — a claim that contradicts California law, per the county. As the filing explains, photos of the fatal crash scene were shown to a bartender, not the media or the internet. California law, however, says that “showing an accident site photograph to one member of the public cannot constitute an invasion of Plaintiff’s privacy.”

“They were not publicly disseminated,” the county said in the court filing. “Plaintiff brought this lawsuit because she is concerned that photographs may be publicly disseminated. There is no legal basis for suing defendants for hypothetical harm.”

Bryant — who recently shared the names of involved deputies Joey Cruz, Raul Versales, Rafael Mejia, and Michael Russell — is pushing forward with her fight. In fact, she is reportedly hoping to see the deputies be held accountable for their actions. In a court filing last week, she shared her plans to conduct “more than forty depositions, forensic examinations of electronic devices and cloud-based storage accounts in the possession of defendants and third parties, and expert reports and depositions.”

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