Institutional "cold culture" has led Los Angeles County legislators and firefighters to Remains of victims of 2020 helicopter crash killed Lakers star player, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others, lawyer for Bryant's widow says Told. Wednesday jury.
Vanessa Bryant's attorney, Lewis Lee, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for her intrusion into a privacy trial against the county where the cell phone photos were taken. told jurors in his opening statement at . The crash scene by the lieutenant and fire chief was "visual gossip" watched "for laughter"and had no official purpose
They are lawmakers playing video games," Lee said. "It was repeatedly shared with people who had no reason to receive them."
county attorneys say taking pictures is an essential tool for first responders looking to share information. defended. They thought they might save lives at the chaotic, dangerous and hard-to-reach crash site. Calabasas Hills west of Los Angeles
"On-site photography is essential," said county attorney J. Mira Hashmol. rice field.
Vanessa Bryant cried frequently during her attorney presentations. During the break minutes later, she was still wiping tears from her eyes.
Li told jurors that a month after the crash she learned that her photo was circulating from the Los Angeles Times, not the county, and that she was still alive. said to have exacerbated the suffering of
"January 26, 2020 was Vanessa's worst day in her Bryant life. The county made it even worse," Lee said. "They poured salt into the open wound and rubbed it in."Li showed the jurors a video of the off-duty sheriff's deputy drinking at a bar and showed the picture to the bartender. I showed it to The lawyer later showed an image of the men laughing together. Two weeks later, at an awards banquet, Li explained that a firefighter was looking at photos on her cell phone and showed jurors her animated chart of how the infection spread to nearly 30 people. I was.
Lee said the county was unable to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that all copies of the photos were accounted for, and that they would someday surface and For fear her surviving children might see them online, Vanessa Bryant "will forever be haunted by what they did."
Of defense opening statement In it, Hashmall told jurors that the fact that the photos hadn't been released in over two years showed that the sheriff and fire department leaders had done their job. is not online, has not appeared in the media, and has never been seen by the plaintiff himself," Hashmall said. She added, "It's not an accident. It's a function of how diligent they were."
Sheriff Alex Villanueva and officials remove photos rather than immediately bring in all involved and conduct lengthy official investigations that could further harm families
"He chose what he thought was the only option — decisive action," Hashmol said. "He felt that every second counted."
"He took out his cell phone, but it shouldn't have been." it was," she said. "In a moment of frustration and despondency, he showed them those pictures. He regrets every day of his life."
He encouraged people to forget their grief and focus on the problem at hand.
"There is no doubt that these families are suffering," she said. "It's hard to put into words. But this case isn't about the crash losses. It's about the photos."
Neither his wife Sarah and daughter Peyton, nor Chris Chester, who died in the crash,
County to settle similar lawsuit filed by two families whose relatives died in the Jan. 26, 2020 crash. has already agreed to pay $2.5 million to Bryant and Chester refused to settle.
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and other parents and players en route to a women's basketball tournament in achartered helicopter in fog crashed. Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the wreck.
Thank you for reading CBS NEWS.
Create a free account or log in to