Vanessa Bryant has been fighting for justice since the devastating loss of her husband and daughter in January 2020. In September of that year, she filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County alleging that first responders at the helicopter crash site took photos of the remains of her family members. According to the Associated Press, the invasion of privacy is aimed at punishing the deputy and firefighter who took the pictures and shared them “for fun.”
The trial was emotional and contentious, with Bryant breaking down during testimony from a man who had been shown the pictures. According to Nicki Swift’s court reporter, Bryant told her, “[lives] I’m scared every day of those pictures coming up.” She has claimed, “I never want to see those photos. I want to remember my husband and daughter for who they were. You can’t get it back.” As Nicki Swift’s court reporter noted, Bryant has experienced intense fear and has even been threatened with leaking the photos.
In closing arguments, Bryant’s co-plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award the duo millions of dollars. “You can’t give too much money for what they went through,” he said, per CNN. “What they went through is inhuman and inhuman.” Now, after many days of testimony, a verdict has come.
Vanessa Bryant wins $16 million in crash photo case
After an emotional and devastating trial, a verdict was returned on August 24, awarding Vanessa Bryant a total of $16 million in damages. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will shell out $10 million, while the Los Angeles Fire Department will issue a check for $6 million, People reported. Chris Chester, who lost his wife Sarah and daughter Payton in the tragic accident, walks away with $15 million.
As TMZ reported, Vanessa broke down in tears when the verdict became clear. She later wrote on Instagram: “All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi!” The post garnered supportive comments from celebrities and fans in minutes.
Chester’s attorney, Jerry Jackson – who was a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, Nicki’s court reporter noted – told TMZ of the outcome: “Grateful to a jury and judge who gave us a fair trial.”