Vanessa Bryant compelled to take psychiatric exam ahead of trial over leaked photos of Kobe helicopter crash
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, may have to undergo psychiatric testing as part of a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over leaked photos of the fatal helicopter crash that killed her husband and 13-year-old daughter.
In court documents filed last week, Los Angeles County argued that independent medical examinations were needed to determine if the emotional distress Bryant and other plaintiffs in the suit were suffering from was caused by the leaked photos of the helicopter crash itself, according to CNN.
Bryant filed the lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in May of 2020, alleging that deputies shared graphic images of the crash. According to the complaint, Bryant had asked Sheriff Alex Villanueva to secure the area for privacy.
“In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,” according to the lawsuit.
In March, Bryant shared the names of the deputies accused of taking and sharing photos of the crash — Deputies Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales — by screenshotting court documents and posting it on social media.
One of the main arguments that the county is making is that the “severe emotional and mental injuries were not caused by any conduct of Defendants, but rather by the tragic helicopter crash and resulting deaths of their loved ones,” CNN reported.
If this request if granted, Bryant, her daughters and seven other plaintiffs could be compelled to undergo psychiatric testing.
“It does not take an expert — and it certainly does not take an involuntary eight-hour psychiatric examination — for a jury to assess the nature and extent of the emotional distress caused by Defendants’ misconduct,” attorneys for Bryant said.
A hearing on the matter is set to be held on Nov. 5.
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