What testimony did Vanessa Bryant give in her ‘invasion of privacy’ suit against the county?
Through tears, Bryant spoke of a lack of compassion and respect as she made clear that the county had failed her late husband and daughter.
In an emotional moment, the NBA legend’s widow took the stand and proceeded to leave no doubt as to the pain that she has suffered since the loss of her husband and daughter.
Vanessa Bryant testifies in ‘violation of privacy’ lawsuit
According to reports on Friday, Vanessa Bryant testified in a lawsuit brought against the county for a violation of privacy. The suit, was brought against county officials after Bryant discovered that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies took and shared photos of the helicopter crash site where her husband, Kobe Bryant; her daughter, Gianna Bryant; and seven others died on January 26th, 2020. Bryant explained that she has experienced panic and anxiety attacks ever since she learned of the photos. “They violated her, taking advantage of the fact that her daddy couldn’t protect her,” she testified. “He was at the morgue. I don’t think anybody should ever see their family members in that way.”
While on the stand, Bryant who is suing the county for invasion of privacy and emotional distress, also spoke of the moment when she first heard about the photos. With her two children at the time, she explained it was simply too much to take. “I just remember not wanting to react ‘cause the girls were in the room,” she testified. “I said, ‘I can’t do this.’ ...And I bolted out of the house and I ran to the side of the house so the girls couldn’t see me. I wanted to run...down the block and just scream. I can’t escape my body. I can’t escape what I feel.”
What has happened in Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit so far?
During last week’s proceedings, Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, alleged that L.A. County officials took photos on cell phones and shared them with individuals who were not part of the official cleanup crew. In response to the allegation, county lawyer Mira Hashmall stated that “site photography is essential.” There was, however, a damning moment for the county’s case in that Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva admitted that he was aware of the existence of the photos, but believed them all to have been deleted. Bryant also went on to add that she did not want her husband, daughter and the other victims to be remembered for the crash.
“I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way they were,” Bryant said. “I don’t ever want to see these photographs shared or viewed. ...I expected them to have more compassion, respect. My husband and my daughter deserve dignity.”
Who else has testified in Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit?
Though much of the focus was on Vanessa Bryant’s testimony, there was also the equally emotional and sad comments which came from Chris Chester, the husband of Sarah, and 13-year-old daughter, Payton who also lost their lives in the tragic crash. On Thursday, Chester testified that he lives in constant fear of the photos being released to the public. There was also Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, who testified on Wednesday. Kobe’s former and godfather to Gianna, Pelinka stated on the stand that the photos the photos “added so much more grief.”
Where law enforcement officials are concerned, reports stated that “A fire captain claimed he no longer remembered being at the scene and left the witness stand to collect himself three times. Another deputy apologized for showing a bartender buddy photos from the scene. Forensic analysis has shown that cellphones and hard drives containing the illicit photos were mysteriously missing or wiped clean.” Clearly not a good look. To date, county’s representatives have continued to highlight the notion that the photos have never made it into public circulation, but this is something that Bryant pushes back on calling it a betrayal. Indeed, Bryant added that she still lives in fear of the day that she and her family will see the photos. “It’s like COVID,” Bryant said. “Once it’s spread, you can’t get it back.”