Will give it all to a charity that helps young athletes
A grand jury on Wednesday reached a unanimous verdict in the grisly death photos lawsuit.
Vanessa Bryant wept as the verdict was read after nearly five hours of deliberation. She walked out of court holding the hand of her 19-year-old daughter Natalia.
The jury also awarded $15 million to co-plaintiff Chris Chester, whose wife Sarah and daughter Payton died in the crash.
Jurors found that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department violated the constitutional rights of Vanessa Bryant and Chris Chester.
Los Angeles County will be ordered to pay the amount after first responders shared photos of the bodies of Vanessa’s husband and 13-year-old daughter in the helicopter crash that killed seven others.
Vanessa said she will give her total share to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit that offers opportunities to underprivileged young athletes.
Vanessa haunted by grotesque death photos
“I live in fear,” a sobbing Vanessa Bryant told the jury Friday. “I live in fear every day of seeing these images on social media.”
Kobe Bryant’s widow took the stand in her invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against L.A. County for allowing graphic photos of her husband and 13-year-old daughter to be shared in public. Kobe and Gianna were killed with seven other people in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
Vanessa is suing for an unspecified amount after first responders shared gory images of body parts in bars and other off-duty places.
L.A. cops share ‘ghoul books’ for kicks
‘Ghoul books’ with graphic photos of dead celebrities such as basketball great Kobe Bryant are routinely kept by L.A. County cops for their own amusement.
The cops share them with each other in locker rooms and off-duty settings such as bars.
The gruesome practice was revealed to a shocked jury at the third day of Vanessa Bryant’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against L.A. County.
“These death books are widely spread around and well-known,” said retired investigator Adam Bercovici. “Officers keep them as souvenirs — they have no investigative value.”
Bercovici said the Nicole Brown Simpson ghoul book was especially popular after the 1994 knife slaughter of Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman. Murder suspect O.J. Simpson was found not guilty by a black jury but in the eyes of the world he did it.
⬆️ Photos too gruesome to be shown here!
Deputies laughed as they shared grisly photos
Vanessa listened in horror as a bartender told the court that Deputy Joey Cruz showed him multiple photos of mutilated remains of Kobe and Gianni. When asked if any appeared to belong to Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, Vanessa Bryant burst into tears.
Her attorney asked the judge if they could leave the courtroom, to which the judge replied, “You don’t have to ask” — and Vanessa walked out sobbing.
Her lawyers then played footage from the bar in which Cruz is seen looking at the photos on his cellphone, then showing them to the bartender and laughing.
Like ‘pouring salt on an unbearable wound’
Imagine first responders referring to your dead husband and teenage daughter as ‘piles of meat.’
The basketball great’s widow sobbed in court as she heard that sheriffs deputies and firefighters shared photos of the dismembered remains of Kobe, 41, and their 13-year old daughter Gianna after they were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California, 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Vanessa Bryant, 40, dressed all in black and wearing her wedding ring, cried as old wounds were reopened.
“County employees took pictures as souvenirs,” Vanessa’s attorney Luis Li told the jury in opening statements at Vanessa’s invasion-of-privacy law suit.
“They poured salt into an unbearable wound.”
One of the deputies who responded to the crash site walked around the wreckage and took close-up photos of Kobe Bryant’s dismembered body parts, Li said.
Vanessa is suing Los Angeles County for extreme psychological trauma over graphic photos of the crash scene that first responders passed around in bars as gruesome souvenirs.
The photos were shared on cell phones and computers by at least a dozen firefighters. They brandished the photos like trophies, the lawsuit charges, even showing them off over cocktails at an awards gala.
One sheriffs deputy showed the pictures he had taken on his mobile phone to a bartender at a bar in Norco, California. A video of the encounter that was played in court showed the bartender wince and step back in horror.
The deputy was seen laughing in the video.
HELICOPTER CRASH KILLED NINE PEOPLE
Kobe, Gianna and seven others — Christina Mauser; Payton and Sarah Chester; John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli; and pilot Ara Zobayan — all died on Sunday, January 26, 2020, when Bryant’s helicopter slammed into a hillside in dense fog.
They were on their way to a youth basketball game in Thousand Oaks, just 12 miles from the crash scene.
Details of the crash HERE.