LA County agrees $29M settlement with Kobe Bryant’s widow over crash photos
Los Angeles (AFP) – Los Angeles County has agreed to pay the widow of Kobe Bryant nearly $29 million after first responders shared photos taken at the site of the helicopter crash that killed the NBA superstar.
Bryant, the couple’s teenage daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed when their chopper smashed into a hillside near Los Angles in January 2020.
Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters who rushed to the scene snapped pictures of the carnage, including the mangled remains of the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his daughter.
Bryant’s widow Vanessa sued for emotional damages over the pictures, which she feared would one day surface on the internet.
Los Angeles County agreed Tuesday to pay $28.85 million to settle all crash-related litigation.
“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct,” Vanessa Bryant’s attorney Luis Li said in a statement quoted by US media.
“She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice.”
Mira Hashmall, attorney for Los Angeles County, called the settlement “fair and reasonable.”
“We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss,” Hashmall said in a statement quoted by CNN.
The settlement includes the $15 million damages awarded to Bryant by a Los Angeles jury in August 2022.
The trial had heard how some of the first responders to the crash showed the photographs to members of the public including a bartender, while one sheriff’s deputy texted them to a friend as the pair played video games.
Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also died in the crash, separately settled for nearly $20 million, US media reported.