Vanessa Bryant reaches nearly $29 million settlement with Los Angeles County in lawsuit over Kobe Bryant crash photos

(CNN) Vanessa Bryant has reached a nearly $29 million settlement with Los Angeles County to settle a lawsuit over photos taken in the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.

The settlement caps several years of litigation related to the January 2020 helicopter crash on a hill in Calabasas, Calif., and the photos that circulated afterward.

“Today marks the culmination of Ms. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this farcical conduct,” Luis Li, an attorney representing Bryant, said in a statement to CNN. “She fought for her husband, her daughter and all members of the community whose deceased family was treated with the same disrespect. We hope her trial victory and this settlement will end this practice.”

The settlement comes after a federal jury in August 2022 found the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Fire Department liable for infringing on the constitutional rights of Bryant and his co-plaintiff Christopher Chester for taking and sharing gruesome photos of the helicopter crash that left nine people dead. .

The photos included not only the wreckage of the helicopter, but also close-up images of the mutilated bodies of those killed.

Bryant and Chester argued that photos of loved ones caused emotional distress and violated their privacy. Each testified to living in fear that the photos would surface, despite the county’s claim the photos had been destroyed.

The jury awarded Chester $15 million in damages and Bryant $16 million, which was later reduced to $15 million due to a clerical error, according to Bryant’s attorney.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in September 2022 agreed to pay an additional $4.95 million to Chester, who lost his wife Sarah and 13-year-old daughter Payton in the helicopter crash.

Mira Hashmall, lead attorney for Los Angeles County, called the recent settlement with Bryant “fair and reasonable.”

“The $28,850,000 settlement incorporates the verdict rendered by the federal jury in August 2022 and further resolves all outstanding issues relating to legal claims pending in state court, future claims by the Bryant children and other costs, with each party responsible for their respective attorneys’ “expenses,” Hashmall said in a statement.

Bianka Bella Bryant and Capri Kobe Bryant, the youngest daughters of the Bryant family, were named in the lawsuit, along with their mother.

“We hope Mrs. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss,” Hashmall added.

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