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Vanessa Bryant’s lawyers allege photos of husband’s crash circulated at bars, gala

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Lawyers for Vanessa Bryant, widow of deceased NBA star Kobe Bryant, claim images of the helicopter crash that killed her husband and daughter Gianna have been shared widely without her consent. 

“Discovery has shown that the close-up photos of Gianna and Kobe’s remains were passed around on at least twenty-eight Sheriff’s Department devices and by at least a dozen firefighters, and shown off in bars and at an awards gala,” says a filing from Bryant’s lawyers obtained by CNN. “It has also shown that Defendants engaged in a cover up, destroying the direct forensic evidence of their misconduct and requiring extensive circumstantial evidence to establish the full extent of that misconduct.”

Vanessa Bryant filed a lawsuit in September 2020 against Los Angeles County alleging that at least eight sheriff’s deputies took photos of her husband’s and daughter’s remains at the scene of the crash. The county filed a motion in November to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that it was “undisputed that the complained-of photos have never been in the media, on the Internet, or otherwise publicly disseminated.”

The trial is scheduled for Feb. 22 and lawyers predict it will go for about 15 days, according to CNN. Bryant’s witness list includes Sheriff Alex Villanueva, current and former law enforcement officials, and journalists. 

The helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant in January 2020 also killed the seven other people on the flight, including the pilot. The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said during a hearing that pilot Ara Zobayan had violated visual flight rules and became disoriented in the clouds over Calabasas, Calif., and couldn’t see where he was flying.

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