Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant has won her ruling against the Los Angeles County Sherrif and Fire Chief that will force them to answer questions under oath about the leaked photos of her late husband and daughter.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Eick has granted Vanessa Bryant’s request to obtain the pretrial deposition testimony of L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and County Fire Chief Daryl Osby per USA Today.
Bryant is suing L.A. county for invasion and privacy and negligence. She claims that the employees of both the sheriff and fire department inappropriately shared photos of human remains from the helicopter crash that killed the NBA champion, their 14-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven others on Jan. 2020.
Skip Miller, who represents the county said in a statement, “While we disagree with the court’s decision, we will make both the Sheriff and Fire Chief available for deposition. Their testimony will not change the fact that there is no evidence any photos taken by County first responders have ever been publicly disseminated.”
In a document provided by Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, and others stated:
“Villanueva personally promised Mrs. Bryant that he would protect the remains of her husband and daughter from desecration by unauthorized photographers. He personally described the sharing of photos of human remains by law enforcement officers as a problem as old as the Polaroid camera, and he noted that police officers keep so-called ‘death books’ of such photos.”
They added: “Within that time, the photos were turned into cocktail-hour entertainment at a public awards show. Plaintiffs are entitled to ask Chief Osby himself about this delay, as it pertains to the likelihood the photos will someday surface and whether spoliation occurred.” “Spoliation” refers to tampering with evidence.
The trial for the crash-scene photos is scheduled for February. Bryant is seeking compensatory and punitive damages to punish the deputy defendants and “make an example of them to the community.”