After graphic photos were released of Kobe’s plane crash back in 2020, the Bryant family followed with a lawsuit that endured these past three years to finally reach a settlement this Tuesday.
The latest news is that the Los Angeles County finally agreed to pay Vanessa Bryant and her three daughters a total of $28,85 million, a deal that includes $15 million a jury awarded her back in August, plus extra funds that resolve potential claims from her girls: Natalia, 20, Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3.
Luis Li, Bryant’s lawyer, expressed how important this culmination is for the victim’s family. “She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice,” the attorney said. “Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct.”
Los Angeles County agreed Tuesday to pay $28.85 million to Vanessa Bryant after members of the sheriff’s department shared graphic photos of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant; their daughter Gianna; and seven others. https://t.co/stri8By0i3
— ESPN (@espn) March 1, 2023
Let’s reminisce on the tragedy. It was January 26, 2020, and 41-year-old Kobe Bryant was travelling with his oldest daughter Gianna, 13, in a helicopter with a group of seven other people who were travelling to a girl’s basketball competition. Everyone on board died as the chopper crashed due to complicated weather conditions outside of Los Angeles.
When the widow Vanessa realized that employee’s of the County’s fire and sheriff departments had shared photos of the deceased, she sued them for negligence and invasion of privacy eight months later in September.
The lead trial counsel for the Los Angeles County in Bryant’s settlement, Mira Hashmall, called the resolution “fair and reasonable” in a statement. “We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss,” she added.
Many moments of that tragic morning were remembered throughout the trial
That terrible day, Kobe was on his way to coach Gianna’s basketball team at his own Mamba Sports Academy, also in California. Rob Pelinka, the current General Manager for the Lakers, team for which the NBA legend played all his 20-years as a professional, drove Vanessa to the sheriff station near the crash scene in Malibu.
The Los Angeles County sheriff back in 2020, Alex Villanueva, mentioned that after he confirmed the deaths he asked Vanessa is she needed anything from her. During the case deposition, she recalled the moment as she replied to Villanueva: “If you can’t bring my husband and baby back, please make sure that no one takes photographs of them. Please secure the area,’” Bryant remembered.
“And he said: ‘I will.’ And I said: ‘No, I need you to get on the phone right now and I need you to make sure you secure the area,’” she insisted.
During Bryant’s testimony, she learned from a Los Angeles Times reporter that a sheriff deputy from the same County had been flashing photos of the tragic crash at a bar. For the widow, just the fact that these photos exist, made this experience all the more traumatic for her family.
“I live in fear of my daughters being on social media and these popping up,” Bryant testified.