Top Ad
I DIG Radio
www.idigradio.com
Listen live to the best music from around the world!
I DIG Style
www.idigstyle.com
Learn about the latest fashion styles and more...

Lawyer: Bryant crash photos shared 'for a laugh'

Written by 
Published in Basketball
Wednesday, 10 August 2022 22:09

LOS ANGELES -- An institutional "culture of callousness" led Los Angeles County deputies and firefighters to shoot and share photos of the remains of Kobe Bryant and other victims of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed the Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, a lawyer for Bryant's widow told a jury on Wednesday.

Vanessa Bryant's attorney Luis Li told jurors in his opening statement in U.S. District Court in her invasion of privacy trial against the county that the cellphone photos shot at the crash scene by a deputy and a fire captain were "visual gossip" viewed "for a laugh" and had no official purpose.

"They were shared by deputies playing video games," Li said. "They were shared repeatedly with people who had absolutely no reason to receive them."

An attorney for the county defended the taking of the photos as an essential tool for first responders seeking to share information when they thought they might still save lives at the chaotic, dangerous and hard-to-reach crash scene in the Calabasas hills west of Los Angeles.

"Site photography is essential," county lawyer J. Mira Hashmall said.

Vanessa Bryant cried frequently during her lawyer's presentation. She was still wiping tears from her eyes minutes afterward during a break.

Li told jurors that learning a month after the crash about the photos' circulation not from the county but the Los Angeles Times compounded her still-raw suffering.

"Jan. 26, 2020, was the worst day of Vanessa Bryant's life. The county made it much worse," Li said. "They poured salt in an open wound and rubbed it in."

Li played jurors security video of an off-duty sheriff's deputy drinking at a bar showing the photos to the bartender, who shakes his head in dismay. The lawyer then showed an image of the men laughing together later. Li described firefighters looking at the phone photos two weeks later at an awards banquet and showed the jury an animated chart documenting their spread to nearly 30 people.

Li said the county failed to conduct a thorough investigation to make sure every copy of the photos was accounted for and that because of the fear the photos will someday surface -- and her surviving children might see them online -- Vanessa Bryant "will be haunted by what they did forever."

During the defense's opening statement, Hashmall told jurors the fact that the pictures have not appeared in more than two years showed that leaders in the sheriff's and fire department did their jobs.

"They're not online. They're not in the media. They've never even been seen by the plaintiffs themselves," Hashmall said.

"That is not an accident. That is a function of how diligent they were."

Sheriff Alex Villanueva and department officials immediately brought in all those involved and ordered them to delete the photos, rather than conduct a long official investigation that might harm the families further, she said.

"He picked what he viewed as the only option: decisive action," Hashmall said. "He felt like every second mattered."

Hashmall told the jury that the reason Li even had the video of the bartender to exhibit, which she suggested was deceptively edited to show the men laughing together, was because the Sheriff's Department had gotten it the same day they received a complaint from another bar patron who witnessed the photo sharing.

She said the deputy was struggling emotionally from the difficulty of dealing with the crash scene and that the bartender was a longtime friend in whom he was confiding.

"He pulled out his phone, and that should not have happened," she said. "In a lapse, in a moment of weakness, he showed those photos, and he has regretted it every day of his life."

The defense attorney urged jurors to look past the grief of those who brought the lawsuit and focus on the matter before them.

"There is no doubt these families have suffered," she said. "It's unspeakable. But this case is not about the loss from the crash. It's about the pictures."

Chris Chester, whose wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, also were killed in the crash, is another plaintiff in the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified millions.

The county already agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a similar case brought by two families whose relatives died in the crash. Bryant and Chester declined to settle.

Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and other parents and players were flying to a girls basketball tournament when their chartered helicopter crashed in the fog. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.

Read 46 times

Soccer

Chicharito's goals, minutes trigger Galaxy renewal

Chicharito's goals, minutes trigger Galaxy renewal

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez said Thursday he will be back with the LA Galaxy next season after mee...

MLS Cup playoffs: Who can clinch, who has work and what's at stake in Week 33

MLS Cup playoffs: Who can clinch, who has work and what's at stake in Week 33

The 2022 MLS season has trickled down to its final two games for most teams, but there is still time...

Jesus on leaving City: I feel 'free' at Arsenal

Jesus on leaving City: I feel 'free' at Arsenal

Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus said he feels "free" playing under Mikel Arteta and that he decided to...

Basketball

Sources: Rockets get Favors in 8-player OKC swap

Sources: Rockets get Favors in 8-player OKC swap

The Houston Rockets are acquiring center Derrick Favors and a 2025 second-round draft pick in an eig...

Holmgren attacks rehab, mentally and physically

Holmgren attacks rehab, mentally and physically

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren is experiencing the rehab process for the first time.T...

Baseball

'Disappointment': Rays denied chance to clinch

'Disappointment': Rays denied chance to clinch

CLEVELAND -- Small plastic strips dangled from the ceiling in Tampa Bay's clubhouse, which had been...

Mets reportedly calling up top prospect Alvarez

Mets reportedly calling up top prospect Alvarez

The New York Mets are calling up top prospect Francisco Alvarez for this weekend's pivotal three-gam...

Sports Leagues

  • FIFA

    Fédération Internationale de Football Association
  • NBA

    National Basketball Association
  • ATP

    Association of Tennis Professionals
  • MLB

    Major League Baseball
  • ITTF

    International Table Tennis Federation
  • NFL

    Nactional Football Leagues
  • FISB

    Federation Internationale de Speedball

About Us

I Dig® is a leading global brand that makes it more enjoyable to surf the internet, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information.  Today I Dig® attracts millions of users every month.

 

Phone: (800) 737. 6040
Fax: (800) 825 5558
Website: www.idig.com
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Affiliated