Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, settles remaining claims over crash-site photos for nearly $30 million
Vanessa Bryant widow of kobe bryanthas settled with Los Angeles County for $28.85 million ending the legal saga over photos taken of her late husband at his helicopter crash site.
The widow alleged that the sheriff’s and fire departments shared photos of the aftermath of the crash. Those photos included the bodies of the victims, notably Kobe’s and 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s.
Along with seven others, the Los Angeles Lakers legend and Gianna were killed in the crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
Vanessa argued that the photos were shared for entertainment purposes and first responders had no legitimate reason to have them. She also felt the first responders were using the material almost as souvenirs.
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The jury determined that the first responders violated their constitutional rights to control death images of family members.
Attorneys for both plaintiffs argued that it was an invasion of privacy that caused even more emotional distress, and fear that the family would see the photos of their perished relatives.
“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct,” Vanessa’s attorney, Luis Li, said in a statement.
“She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice.”
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She had previously won $15 million in federal court, but the new settlement also lists her three surviving daughters as added plantiffs. Bryant and Christopher Chester sued Los Angeles County and her attorneys claim that “close-up photos” were shared on multiple devices within the sheriff’s department and fire department, and with members of the public.
Chester, whose wife and daughter died in the crash, also won $15 million.
Families of the crash victims reached a confidential settlement in 2021 with the helicopter company involved in the accident.
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Vanessa has said that the winnings will go to charity — LA County has since given $50 million to the ordeal.