Vanessa Bryant Settles Kobe Crash Site Photos for $28.85 Million
Vanessa Bryant has settled the remaining claims with the Los Angeles County over the photos that deputies shared after a 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband, former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, according to ESPN. It was determined that Vanessa Bryant will get $28.85 million, including the $15 million a jury already awarded to her in August after a trial in federal court.
"Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant's courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct," Luis Li, Vanessa Bryant's attorney, said in a statement. "She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice."
Chris Chester, a co-plaintiff whose wife and daughter died in the crash received $19.95 million in the settlement. The photos from the crash were shared mostly among the Los Angeles County sheriff's and fire departments, including some who were playing video games and attending an awards banquet. Some of their spouses also saw the photos, and one deputy shared the photos with a bartender.
Vanessa Bryant said during the 11-day trial that the photos compounded her grief a month after the crash and had panic attacks thinking about the photos could be still out there. "I just remember not wanting to react 'cause the girls were in the room," she said at the time. "I said, 'I can't do this.' ... And 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. I can't escape my body. I can't escape what I feel."
Kobe Bryant was traveling with Gianna and seven others to a youth basketball game on Jan. 26, 2020, when the helicopter there were aboard crashed into the hills in the Los Angeles area. All nine people died in the crash, and federal safety officials blamed pilot error. Kobe Bryant spent his entire NBA career (1996-2016) with the Lakers and led the team to five NBA championships.