Vanessa Bryant, widow of late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, took to the witness stand Friday (Aug. 19) in her federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County. The lawsuit is centered around photos taken and shared by first responders to the 2020 helicopter crash that killed Kobe, their daughter Gianna “GiGi” Bryant. Seven others perished in the crash.
Vanessa along with Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also died in the crash, filed a federal civil lawsuit alleging that Los Angeles County “invaded their privacy and inflicted emotional distress by not properly containing the spread of the photos which, according to witness testimony, show not just helicopter wreckage but the mangled bodies of the victims,” CNN reports.
After learning of the devasting news, Vanessa said in the courtroom Friday per TMZ, “I felt like I wanted to run down the block and scream. I can’t escape my body. I can’t escape what I feel.”
She added she had been “blindsided, devastated, hurt and betrayed” to know that authorities had taken pictures at the scene.
“I trusted them,” she said. “I trusted them to not do these things.”
Vanessa told the courtroom that because of where Gianna’s body was located, she believes someone had to have moved her.
“They took advantage that Daddy couldn’t protect her,” she said. “He was at the morgue.” She added, “I don’t ever want to see my babies in that way. Nobody should ever have to see their family in that way.”
Kobe, Gianna, and the seven others were flying to a girls’ basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks when the helicopter went down, leaving no survivors.