Kobe Bryant’s Widow Awarded $16m Leaked Crash Photos Payout

Mrs Bryant's lawyer, Luis Li, said during opening statements last week that these employees "poured salt in an open wound and rubbed it in."

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Kobe Bryant's Widow Awarded $16m Leaked Crash Photos Payout - SportRazzi
Kobe Bryant's Widow Awarded $16m Leaked Crash Photos Payout.

Kobe Bryant’s widow was awarded $16 million (£13.6 million) in damages after graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed the US basketball star and his daughter in 2020 were leaked.

Vanessa Bryant, 40, said she had panic attacks after learning that images taken by sheriff’s deputies and firefighters in Los Angeles County had been shared.

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A federal jury has now ruled that the county must compensate Mrs Bryant for emotional distress. Christopher Chester, a co-plaintiff, will receive $15 million.

Mrs. Bryant’s husband, Kobe Bryant, 41, daughter Gianna, 13, and six family friends were killed in a helicopter crash in California in January 2020. Mr Chester was killed in the crash, along with his wife Sarah and daughter Payton.

Last November, the county agreed to pay $2.5 million (£2.1 million) to two families who lost relatives in the crash, but Mrs Bryant refused to settle.

Mrs Bryant, who was sobbing on the witness stand last week, recalled being at home with her other children when she read the LA Times story.

“I bolted out of the house and I ran to the side of the house so the girls couldn’t see me. I wanted to run… down the block and just scream,” she said.

Mrs Bryant said she had felt “blindsided, devastated, hurt and betrayed” by news of the leak and “[lives] in fear every day of… having these images pop up” on social media.

“I don’t ever want to see these photographs,” she said. “I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way they were.”

Jurors heard how sheriff’s deputies and firefighters took gruesome cellphone photos at the scene and showed them to others, including at a bar and a gala event.

Mrs Bryant’s lawyer, Luis Li, said during opening statements last week that these employees “poured salt in an open wound and rubbed it in.”

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A county lawyer unsuccessfully argued that “site photography is essential” and that the photos had not been publicly posted anywhere.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers and is widely regarded as one of the game’s all-time greats.

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