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Vanessa Bryant Testifies That She Was 'Devastated' over Pictures of Kobe Crash

Erin WalshAugust 19, 2022

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Vanessa Bryant took the stand Friday, and she recalled the moment she learned first responders had taken photographs of her late husband Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed them and seven others in Calabasas, California, in January 2020.

Bryant testified Friday in court that she was "blindsided, devastated, hurt and betrayed" to learn that authorities took photos of her deceased family members, per TMZ Sports.

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who informed Bryant that there were no survivors in the crash, did not tell her at the time that the bodies of Kobe and Gianna had been photographed by his deputies.

Bryant said she learned of the photographs through a February 2020 report in the Los Angeles Times.

"I felt like I wanted to run down the block and scream," Bryant said. "I can't escape my body. I can't escape what I feel."

She added: "I trusted them. I trusted them to not do these things."

Bryant also testified that if the photos were made public, and she were to see them, that it would be too devastating for her to bear.

"I don't ever want to see my babies in that way," she said. "Nobody should ever have to see their family in that way."

Bryant is suing sheriff Villanueva and his L.A. County department after learning deputies took photos of her deceased family members at the crash scene. She claims in the lawsuit that their actions have caused her severe emotional distress and she is seeking unspecified damages.

According to the lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ Sports, "no fewer than eight sheriff's deputies at the crash site, pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification."

Since sharing the photos, nearly all of the sheriff's deputies have gotten new phones, per Alene Tchekmedyian of the Los Angeles Times.

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