Vanessa Bryant, a depositionist, relates the day her husband and daughter were murdered and the L.A. County Sheriff’s promise to secure their crash site.
According to a transcript of Vanessa Bryant’s deposition in a lawsuit she filed against Los Angeles County, Kobe Bryant’s widow received many disturbing images of her husband’s fatal helicopter crash.
These images were allegedly leaked from county employees. Vanessa Bryant filed a federal lawsuit last year against the county, as well as several agencies.
Bryant’s federal lawsuit claims that Bryant violated privacy. Bryant claimed that Bryant experienced severe emotional distress after the loss of her husband and their daughter, Gianna. According to the lawsuit, first responders such as firefighters and sheriff’s deputies shared photos of Kobe Bryant’s body with a bartender, and then passed on “gratuitous photographs of the deceased children, parents, and coaches.”
“Nothing can compare. This is the best. My husband and my child died. She said that it was the most horrible thing she could have done.” The deposition was recorded via videoconference earlier in the month.
Los Angeles County wants to force Vanessa Bryant’s psychiatric evaluations to find out if she and other victims suffered from emotional distress. Bryant’s attorneys argue that the examinations were “cruel”, while the county claims they are “a routine component of the discovery process.”
Bryant, who was deposed, revealed intimate details about the day her husband, and child, were killed. She also held her hand up to the computer screen to obscure disturbing images of the crash site.
Bryant stated in her deposition that she did not want Bryant or her little girls to ever see the remains of their bodies in this matter. “I don’t think it’s right that these photographs were taken because it’s already difficult enough for me to experience this pain and loss. It’s something I must deal with every day to ensure that I live my whole life without worrying about those photos surfacing.
Bryant said that Bryant’s morning Jan 26, 2020 was just like any other day for the four parents.
Kobe Bryant flew in a helicopter from Orange County to Thousand Oaks with Gianna Bryant to play at her basketball game. Vanessa Bryant stayed at home with their two youngest kids. A fourth daughter was studying to take her college entrance exams.
Vanessa Bryant, a family assistant, learned that the helicopter had crashed at 11:30 AM. She said that her life has changed drastically since then.
Grief is not a linear process. Bryant stated that every day is different and that he tries to smile for his little girls. Bryant said, “I want them live in the love and never in the loss.” It’s my conscious effort to show them that everything is fine.
Bryant thought that her husband and daughter had been seriously injured in the crash. Bryant rushed to the airport to get a helicopter so she could be there with them, but bad weather prevented her from taking off.
Then, she sat in her car for almost two hours as she drove from Orange County to Malibu near the crash site. She waited for Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to deliver the devastating news.
According to Bryant’s deposition, he pleaded with Villanueva for photos of the crash site. According to court documents, he assured her that the area was secure.
Bryant asked Bryant if Bryant could help her after Villanueva confirmed that her loved ones had been killed.
“And I said to Bryant: “If you are unable to bring my husband or baby back, please ensure that no one takes photos of them.” Bryant stated during deposition that Bryant should secure the area. Bryant said, “And he said, ‘I will.’ I replied: ‘No. I need to get on the telephone right now and to make sure the area is secure.’
Villanueva, she explained, excused himself for a moment and assured her that the area was secure when he returned.
Villanueva did no immediate respond to a request to comment. Villanueva has been accused of numerous scandals including refusing to enforce coronavirus mandates repeatedly and allegations of fatal shots, excessive force, deputy bands, retaliation, and other misconduct within his department.
The county filed a motion last week for Bryant’s independent psychiatric evaluation in order to establish that the leaked photos from the helicopter crash caused emotional distress. According to the filing, independent exams are necessary in order to determine the extent and nature of the alleged emotional injuries suffered by Plaintiffs.
Bryant’s lawyers claimed that the motion was part the county’s “scorched Earth discovery tactics” to bully Plaintiffs out of their pursuit of accountability.
Bryant stated in her deposition that she doesn’t get how someone could have compassion and no regard for life, but instead choose to use the opportunity to photograph helpless people for their sick amusement.
She said, “I want accountability.”