Kobe Bryant widow ‘lives in fear’ of gruesome crash photos surfacing
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of late basketball star Kobe Bryant, told a court on Friday that she lives in fear at the prospect of photographs of her husband and 13-year-old daughter being leaked online after they were killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash in early 2020 near Los Angeles.
Ms Bryant has launched an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Los Angeles County after photographs from the crash site, which included images of Mr Bryant's body, were allegedly distributed by emergency workers shortly after the accident.
In a three-hour session on the stand on Friday in what is the eighth day of the trial, Ms Bryant said that she was still in the early stages of the grief process when she learned of the existence of the photographs, and said that this caused her immense stress in what was already the worst few weeks of her life.
“I felt like I wanted to run, run down the block and scream,” she said. “It was like the feeling of wanting to run down a pier and jump into the water.
“The problem is I can't escape. I can't escape my body.”
She also explained that she learned of the photographs when she received a phone call while holding her seven-month old child and said she found the revelation extremely distressing.
“I bolted out of the house and around to the side so my girls wouldn't see," she said.
“I was blindsided again, devastated, hurt. I trusted them. I trusted them not to do these things.”
The court heard in previous statements that photographs of Bryant's body were shown by a Sheriff's Deputy to a bartender, and they were also seen by several firefighters at a social function.
The images have not been released online to date but Ms Bryant says that she lives in constant fear that her children will one day be shown them, and says that these fears have led to her suffering from panic attacks.
“I live in fear every day of being on social media and these popping up. I live in fear of my daughters being on social media and these popping up.”
A defense lawyer stated, meanwhile, that they photos were required to be taken as they helped emergency workers locate the remote scene of the accident and that LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva demanded all copies be deleted when he learned that they were being distributed.
However, Ms Bryant objected when she was told that the photographs were necessary for the investigation.
“I don't think you need to take close-up photos of people to determine how many people are on an aircraft,” Ms Bryant replied. “I think he could have just counted.”
Ms Bryant's legal team rested their case following her testimony.