Vanessa Bryant Can Receive Names Of Deputies Who Allegedly Took Photos Of Kobe Bryant Crash Site, Judge Rules
Kobe Bryant, his and Vanessa Bryant’s daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other victims tragically died after a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. on Jan. 26th, 2020.
Multiple deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are accused of taking and/or sharing pictures from the crash site. Judge John F. Walter ruled Monday (March 8th) that Vanessa Bryant can know the identities of the deputies.
While lawyers for the LASD and Los Angeles County argued the identities should be kept private because “hackers may attempt to seek out and gain access to the individual deputies’ devices to locate any photographs and publish them,” Judge Walter disagreed.
He pointed out that the argument is
“totally inconsistent with their position that such photographs no longer exist.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva had previously claimed that all of the photos related to the crash were deleted.
Vanessa Bryant’s lawyer, Luis Li, celebrated the judge’s decision and said in a statement,
“Transparency promotes accountability. We look forward to presenting Mrs. Bryant’s case in open Court.”
She also saluted the ruling on Instagram with screenshots of court documents.
Vanessa Bryant requested for the deputies’ names to be released in February. She said in a statement,
“The Sheriff’s Department wants to redact the names of the deputies that took and/or shared photos of my husband, daughter and other victims. Anyone else facing allegations would be unprotected, named and released to the public. … These specific deputies need to be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else.”
She first sued the sheriff’s department in September 2020, alleging that photos had been taken, shared, and leaked.
The deputies are accused of taking pictures of the bodies of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant, and the crash site, for their own personal gain.
Vanessa Bryant states in the lawsuit that Sheriff Alex Villanueva tried to cover it up by telling the deputies if they deleted the photos they wouldn’t face any discipline, in order to get rid of the evidence. Sheriff Villanueva reportedly did not let the families know about the photos, and they instead found out on social media.
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