Kobe Bryant’s Widow Awarded $16m After First Responders Shared Sick Photos Of His Body
Vanessa Bryant has been awarded $16 million (£13.6 million) after winning her lawsuit against Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department.
The jury found the departments guilty of sharing photos of her late husband Kobe Bryant in the moments after he was involved in a fatal helicopter crash.
Chris Chester, whose wife and teenage daughter died in the same tragedy, was also awarded $15 million (£12.7 million) for the same reason.
Chris is said to have originally claimed for up to $32.5 million (£27.5 million), while Vanessa allegedly didn’t name a price and had instead asked the jury to award what’s right.
Basketball star Kobe and his daughter Gianna, 13, and Chris’ wife Sarah and 13-year-old daughter Payton died in the crash in Los Angeles in January 2020. The five other passengers on board the flight which was going to a youth basketball game also sadly lost their life in the incident.
Vanessa and Chris’s court case began on August 10 and revealed the harrowing details of the aftermath of the crash. They originally filed a federal invasion of privacy lawsuit against the LA County Sheriff’s Department after a deputy and firefighter, who responded to the scene, allegedly leaked photos from the crash site.
The pair claimed photographs of the victims’ bodies were publicly shared on at least 28 devices owned by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and by more than a dozen first responders.
The trial concluded just hours after the LA County’s legal team made its closing arguments.Lawyers for the County are said to have argued the photos never surfaced and they have been deleted from the mobile phones in question.
Chris’s attorney, Jerry Jackson, spoke after the verdict, telling TMZ : “Grateful to a jury and judge that gave us a fair trial.”
Vanessa is said to have broke down in tears as the verdict was announced. The decision comes a day after what would have seen Kobe – whose nickname was The Black Mamba – turn 44.
Vanessa posted a sentimental tribute to the star explaining how much she missed him. She shared a sweet throwback picture of the pair cuddling each other along with her emotional words.