On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Los Angeles County’s sheriff and fire chief to give depositions for Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit over the alleged sharing of photos from Kobe Bryant’s tragic helicopter crash.
Bryant is suing Los Angeles County and other agencies alleging invasion of privacy by the first responders, who she accuses of sharing photos of the Jan. 26, 2020, crash that killed the NBA legend, their 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people, NBC News reports.
“Faced with a scene of unimaginable loss, no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies at the crash site pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches,” Bryant’s lawsuit states.
During Judge Charles F. Eick’s ruling, he cited that Sheriff Alex Villanueva and fire department Chief Daryl Osby possibly have “unique first-hand, non-repetitive knowledge” that is relevant. The judge sided with Bryant saying her purpose in seeking the depositions “is neither abusive nor harassing,” as noted by CBS8.
“While we disagree with the court’s decision, we will make both the Sheriff and Fire Chief available for deposition,” Skip Miller, outside counsel for Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “Their testimony will not change the fact that there is no evidence any photos taken by County first responders have ever been publicly disseminated.”
The sheriff’s and fire chief’s duties were taken into consideration, and they will only be ordered to the depositions for four hours each to minimize the effect the timing might have on their work obligations.
It was nearly one month after the tragic crash when the LA Times unearthed claims that sheriff’s deputies were the ones who shared photos of the crash site. Villanueva later admitted that eight deputies were alleged to have taken or shared photos, and he ordered them to be deleted.
According to Vanessa Bryant’s deposition, she asked Villanueva to ensure that no one would take photographs of the site, and he reassured her that it wouldn’t happen.