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Jury in Kobe Crash Photo Civil Trial Asked to Award Vanessa Bryant, Plaintiffs $75M

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2022

Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The attorneys for Vanessa Bryant and Chris Chester have asked for $75 million in damages during the civil trial against Los Angeles County, per Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today.

The plaintiffs say they suffered emotional distress after learning members of the sheriff’s department and fire department took and shared photos following the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others in Calabasas, California, in January 2020. Like Vanessa Bryant, Chester also lost his spouse, Sara Chester, and daughter, Payton Chester, in the crash.

Chester's attorney, Jerome Jackson, said the damages are based on $2.5 million from each of the last 2.5 years of emotional distress plus $1 million for each year of future distress for the two combined.

"When I reach this point of closing arguments, I'm usually anxious about not asking for too much," Jackson told the jury. "I don't have that anxiety today, because I will tell you ladies and gentlemen, you can’t award too much money for what they went through. You can't stack it too high. You can't spread it too wide. What they went through is inhuman and inhumane."

The close-up, gruesome pictures of body parts were taken by a sheriff's deputy on his phone and later shared with others, with at least one person showing the photos at a restaurant. A fire department employee also allegedly took pictures following the crash.

Vanessa Bryant testified that she was "blindsided, devastated, hurt and betrayed" after learning that photos were taken and shared, via TMZ.

"I trusted them," she said. "I trusted them to not do these things."

Chester also explained his fear that photos of his family can be released publicly at any time.

"It's fearful, the level of unknowns. I'm fearful all the time every day," he said, per Julie Mazziotta and Dana Feldman of People.

Tuesday was the final day of testimony at the trial and the first day of closing arguments. Arguments were set to resume Wednesday morning before going to jury deliberations.

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