Vanessa Bryant wins $16 million lawsuit over helicopter crash pictures

Stewart Perrie

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Vanessa Bryant wins $16 million lawsuit over helicopter crash pictures

Featured Image Credit: Geisler-Fotopress GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo. Hyperstar / Alamy Stock Photo

Vanessa Bryant has won a $16 million lawsuit against Los Angeles County over photos taken of her husband's helicopter crash.

Emergency services attached to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department were accused of taking grim photos of Kobe and daughter Gianna's mangled helicopter after the aircraft came down, killing all those on board.

The lawsuit argued the photos were unlawfully captured and invaded the Bryant family's privacy at an especially difficult time.

The Daily Mail reports Vanessa broke down in tears when the verdict was read out.

The jury came to a decision after less than a day of deliberations and a two-week trial.

Bryant's lawyers say she was entitled to $40 million in compensation, however the court awarded her $16 million.

Bryant said: “I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way that they were.” Credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo
Bryant said: “I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way that they were.” Credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Relatives of others killed in the January 2020 helicopter crash launched a similar lawsuit and were given $2.5 million in compensation.

The MailOnline explained how Vanessa didn't join that collective legal action and instead decided to do her own with Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also died in the tragic crash.

During the trial, Mrs Bryant said she lived in fear that the photos would pop up again and cause her to relive the trauma of losing her husband and daughter.

She told the court: “I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way that they were.”

The doting mum added: “I don't ever want to see these photographs. I have three little girls!"

According to People, Vanessa, who shares Capri, three, Bianka, five, and Natalia, 19, with Kobe, explained how on the morning of the accident she visited the Lost Hills Sheriff Station and asked Sheriff Alex Villanueva to make sure the Calabasas crash site was protected from the paparazzi.

Credit: frederic REGLAIN / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: frederic REGLAIN / Alamy Stock Photo

The 40-year-old mum told Villanueva: “If you can't bring my babies back, can you please secure the area?" 

Soon after the accident, allegations that first responders had shared crash site photos first came to light in the Los Angeles Times.

Bryant said: “​​I trusted them not to do these things."

She believed the first responders allegedly captured photos of Gianna ‘took advantage that her daddy wasn't there to protect her’, adding: “He was at the morgue.”

While Kobe’s body was found on the day of the crash, Gianna’s wasn’t recovered until the day after, when it was found in a ravine. 

The trial heard how first responders shared the grim photographs to members of the public.

A bartender was shown the images and a deputy allegedly messaged them to a friend.

Topics: Celebrity, Kobe Bryant

Stewart Perrie
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