For several months, Vanessa Bryant has been suing Los Angeles County after a helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven other people. Vanessa is suing specifically because of “emotional distress” and, moreover, because photos from the crash site were taken and distributed by emergency response services at the scene. After delays, the trial is finally due to begin this week, but before that, the presiding judge has made a key decision on how Kobe Bryant’s mocking messages will act during the case.
It is reported that in 2020, several social media messages were sent to Vanessa Bryant before it was revealed that the aforementioned first responders had distributed the photos. Judge John F. Walter recently ruled that the posts in question cannot be shown to a jury during a trial according to law and crime. Although Walter ruled that any of the messages sent after this knowledge was revealed could be shown to the jury. Walter acknowledged that the reports are “rumors,” as claimed by the Los Angeles County attorney. But the judge also says that such reports can be submitted because the jury will not look at them to accept them as the truth. Instead, they will be used to give an idea of how the plaintiff felt when she saw them.
John F. Walter also talked about messages that could not be included, specifically discussing one that he said “admittedly has to do with ridicule.” Despite his thoughts on this, Walter drew attention to the fact that the post in question contains a fake image made by non-Los Angeles County officials, stating that it has “shocking significance that is clearly damaging.”
However, one of the messages that can be submitted is that it threatens to “drain Kobi’s body” to the public. Another acceptable post contained an aerial shot believed to have been taken by the county. Speaking on behalf of Vanessa Bryant, attorney Louis Lee said his client and her family “will have a very difficult relationship with the Internet for the rest of their lives” because of the distribution of the photos.
Vanessa Bryant has experienced a number of ups and downs while preparing for trial. In early July, Bryant’s legal team was scolded for presenting too much evidence during a pretrial hearing. Bryant recently brought in an expert in the defamation case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The person in question was a rebuttal specialist who spoke on behalf of Depp, who was eventually given the verdict.
As Kobe Bryant’s widow continued to resolve her legal issues, other lawsuits related to the accident took shape. Christopher Chester, whose wife and daughter also died during the incident, is also suing over the distribution of photos from the crash site. Although he will have to file a lawsuit on his own, since, as reported, he will not be able to use Vanessa’s “coattails” by combining the cases. Another lawsuit was also filed by the union with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, although the Bryant photo case has since been settled.
With jury selection taking place this week, Vanessa Bryant’s case will really begin in earnest. We’ll have to wait and see what other messages are being shared in the courtroom. However, it can be assumed that these posts may be of great importance for determining the outcome of the case.