LOS ANGELES (AP) — A systemic “culture of callousness” has led Los Angeles County lawmakers and firefighters to defend Lakers star Kobe Bryant and others in the 2020 helicopter crash that killed his 13-year-old star. began taking and sharing photographs of the bodies of victims of An attorney for Bryant’s widow told jurors Wednesday about his aging daughter and seven others.
Vanessa Bryant’s attorney, Louis Lee, told the jury in her opening statement in U.S. District Court in her invasion of privacy trial against the county that the cell phone photos taken by the attorney and the fire chief at the crash site were It was “visual gossip” and laughter” and had no official purpose.
“They were shared by lawmakers playing video games,” Lee said. “They were repeatedly shared with people who had no reason to receive them.”
County attorneys defended taking pictures as an essential tool for first responders seeking to share information.Los Angeles
“On-site photography is essential,” said County Attorney J. Mira Hashmall.
Vanessa Bryant cried frequently during her attorney’s presentation.
Lee told jurors that learning a month after the crash that the photos were circulating not from the county but from the Los Angeles Times made her still-raw pain worse.
“January 26, 2020 was the worst day of Vanessa Bryant’s life. The county made things worse,” Lee said.
Lee played a jury security video of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy drinking at a bar and showed the bartender a picture. The lawyer later showed an image of the men laughing together. At the awards ceremony two weeks later, Li described firefighters looking at photos on her cell phone and showed the judges her animated charts documenting the spread of the infection to nearly 30 of her people. I was.
Lee said the county failed to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that all copies of the photos were accounted for, and that they would someday surface and her surviving children would see them online. For fear that they might, Vanessa Bryant quipped, “What’s going to bother me. They’ve been forever.”
In his defense’s opening statement, Hashmall told jurors that the fact that the photo had not been seen in over two years showed that the sheriff and fire department leadership had done their job.
“They’re not online. They’re not in the media. They weren’t even seen by the plaintiffs themselves,” Hashmol said. “It’s not an accident.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva and authorities immediately summoned everyone involved and ordered the photos removed.
“He chose what he saw as the only option: decisive action,” Hashmol said. “He felt that every second counted.”
Hashmall told jurors that Li even showed the bartender’s video, which she suggested was disguisedly edited to show the men laughing together, after another bar-goer complained. He said it was because the Sheriff’s Department obtained it the same day he received it. The person who witnessed the photo sharing.
She said the lieutenant was emotionally distressed by the difficulty of dealing with the crash site, and the bartender was a longtime friend he had confided in.
“He took out his cell phone, which shouldn’t have happened,” she said. “In a moment of despondency and despondency, he showed them those pictures. He regrets every day of his life.”
The defense counsel urged the jurors to forget the grief of those who filed the lawsuits and focus on the issues at hand.
“There is no doubt that these families are suffering,” she said. “It’s hard to say. But this case isn’t about crash losses. It’s about photography.”
His wife, Sarah, and daughter Peyton, as well as Chris Chester, who died in the crash, are also plaintiffs in lawsuits seeking unspecified millions of dollars.
The county has already agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle similar lawsuits filed by two families whose relatives died in the January 26, 2020 crash. Bryant and Chester refused to settle.
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and other parents and players were flying into a women’s basketball tournament when their chartered helicopter crashed in the fog. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.
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