Los Angeles County attorneys claim that Vanessa Bryant’s concerns of the helicopter crash photos being leaked is unfounded.
While Los Angeles county attorneys have called the helicopter crash killing basketball legend Kobe Bryant a “horrific accident,” they maintain that the county is not responsible and that Bryant’s widow’s lawsuit against it should be dismissed.
According to CNN, Bryant’s widow—Vanessa Bryant—has claimed that photographs of the crash scene were inappropriately and illegally leaked.
However, Los Angeles County says that its emergency responders worked to protect, preserve, and investigate the accident site as soon as it was located.
“County personnel worked tirelessly to protect the crash site, identify the victims, and notify the families,” attorneys wrote in a court document. “As for this lawsuit, it is without legal merit and should be dismissed.”
Los Angeles County attorneys also told the court that, to date, there is no evidence to suggest that the crash photographs were actually ever leaked.
“After reviewing over 20 LASD and LACFD devices, Kroll [Forensic Investigations] confirmed that there are no photos containing victims’ remains and no evidence of public dissemination,” the attorneys wrote in their filing.
“Plaintiff’s fear is also not reasonable,” they wrote, observing that an independent forensic investigator concluded “that there are no photos containing victims’ remains and no evidence of dissemination.”
“The photos are gone and, according to Kroll and Plaintiff’s own experts, cannot be recovered,” they added. “There is therefore nothing for Plaintiff to fear.”
Furthermore, the county’s lawyers said that this is the first time Los Angeles emergency services “confronted allegations of improper photo sharing and they took appropriate action to address them.”
Bryant’s lawsuit, notes CNN, alleges that county employees had taken pictures of the crash scene, violating her constitutional right to control death images of her husband and daughter, Gianna.
Shortly after the crash, Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva, in a press statement, admitted that at least eight sheriff’s deputies and other first responders had taken photographs of the crash scene.
But in March 2020, CNN reports, said that all photographs found in possession of county employees had been recovered and deleted.
“Plaintiff’s claim is also based on her fear of public dissemination,” Los Angeles County attorneys wrote. “To date, almost two years after the crash, it is undisputed that no LASD or LACFD photos have been posted on the Internet, released in the media, or otherwise publicly disseminated,” they added.
Bryant, however, is seeking undisclosed damages against the county, citing her distress and anxiety over the possibility of the photographs eventually being leaked to the media.