Vanessa Bryant broke down in tears as she testified in her invasion of privacy lawsuit surrounding photos allegedly taken of her late husband Kobe Bryant following the fatal crash that killed the NBA star, her daughter and seven others in January 2020.
The jury, made up of six women and four men, heard Bryant testify Friday as she sobbed while recalling the pain she felt when she learned about the leaked photos involving her late husband, NBC News reported in a story published Friday.
“I felt like I wanted to run down the block and scream,” Bryant shared. “I can’t escape my body. I can’t escape what I feel.”
NEW: Vanessa Bryant says she felt “blindsided, devastated, hurt and betrayed” after photos leaked of the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant.
“I live in fear every day of seeing on social media and having these images pop up.” https://t.co/ePKGWRE00D
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 19, 2022
She also explained how she felt “blindsided, devastated, hurt and betrayed” by county employees who allegedly leaked the photos, while admitting she hasn’t seen them and never wants to.
“I want to remember them as they were,” Vanessa shared. “I live in fear everyday of seeing on social media and having these images pop up.”
Bryant’s suit against the Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire departments involves “gratuitous” and “horrific” images allegedly taken by first responders at the site of helicopter crash that killed the late NBA legend, as The Daily Wire previously reported.
In September 2020, Bryant filed the suit in U.S. District Court, claiming that the photos of the deceased allegedly taken by authorities at the crash scene and then shared at various events has caused her emotional distress.
“Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought that sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and members of the public have gawked at gratuitous images of her deceased husband and child,” according to the lawsuit, Reuters noted. “She lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online.”
Bryant’s suit seeks undisclosed damages, claiming civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress, and violation of privacy, CNN reported.
L.A. County officials have argued that Bryant’s “severe and emotional and mental injuries” came from the crash itself rather than the photos.
In September 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed an invasion of privacy bill after the fatal accident called the “Kobe Bryant Act.” The bill makes it illegal for first responders to share photos of a deceased body at a crime scene “for any other purpose other than official law enforcement purpose.”
Those found guilty of the misdemeanor crime could receive charges up to $1,000 per violation.
Brandon Drey contributed to this report.