A jury deliberated less than four hours Wednesday before awarding Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa (right), $16 million in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County.
The jury found that L.A. County sheriff’s deputies and officials shared gruesome photos of the January 2020 helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, 41, his daughter, Gianna, 14, and seven others.
Another plaintiff, Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter died in the crash, was awarded $15 million.
In February 2020, the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies had shared graphic photos of the victims’ remains with others, including a woman in a local bar.
Vanessa Bryant’s attorney told the jury she suffered undue emotional stress after she discovered county personnel shared cellphone pictures of human remains as morbid “souvenirs.”
Vanessa, 40 (2nd from right), reportedly cried in court as the award was announced on Wednesday. She was accompanied to court by her and Kobe’s eldest daughter, Natalia, 19 (2nd from left), and two friends.
Earlier this week, R&B singer Monica Arnold, 41, (right) accompanied Vanessa to court to provide emotional support.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva had ordered his deputies to delete any photographs in their phones.
However, none of the eight deputies who shared the photos were fired or disciplined.
Los Angeles County plans to appeal the $31 million award.