Vanessa Bryant wins ruling, Los Angeles officials ordered to testify about Kobe Bryant crash photos

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Vanessa Bryant won an important ruling in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County Wednesday when a judge ruled that County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Fire Chief Daryl Osby could be forced to answer questions under oath about photographs taken from the sight of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and daughter, Gianna Bryant, in January 2020. Bryant is suing Los Angeles County for invasion of privacy and negligence by alleging that sheriff’s and fire department employees improperly shared photographs of human remains from the crash site. 

The county argued that heads of government agencies are not normally subject to depositions of this nature, but will ultimately comply with the ruling. “While we disagree with the court’s decision, we will make both the Sheriff and Fire Chief available for deposition,” Skip Miller, an attorney representing the county, said in a statement to USA Today. “Their testimony will not change the fact that there is no evidence any photos taken by County first responders have ever been publicly disseminated.”

Bryant revealed in an Oct. 12 deposition that she found out about her husband’s death through social media notifications. “I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe,'” Bryant said according to CNN. In another recent ruling in her favor, Bryant’s legal team was given access to the phone records of retired fire captain Brian Jordan, who took photographs at the scene of the crash. 

The case is set to go to trial in February, 2022, and Bryant is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. In June, she reached a settlement in her wrongful death lawsuit against those she blamed for the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna. 

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