Vanessa Bryant: Jury urged to award millions in damages as closing arguments begin in federal lawsuit against LA County

The lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant and co-plaintiff Christopher Chester against Los Angeles County centers on photos taken after the helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and Chester’s wife Sarah. , his daughter Payton and five others on January 26. 2000.

Witnesses during the trial included an MP who said he showed graphic images of the scene at a bar, another MP who said he shared photos while playing a video game, an MP who sent dozens of photos to someone he didn’t know, and a fire official who showed the footage to other staff at a cocktail party at the awards ceremony.

“You can’t award too much money for what they’ve been through,” said Jerry Jackson, who represents Chester, in his closing arguments. “What they went through is inhuman and inhuman.”

Bryant and Chester should each receive $2.5 million for the pain they’ve already suffered, plus another amount between $100,000 and $1 million for each year of the rest of their lives, Jackson said.

That would bring the total to between $6.5 million and $42.5 million for Bryant and between $5.5 million and $32.5 million for Chester, he said.

Vanessa Bryant left the courtroom at some point

Craig Lavoie, an attorney representing Bryant, began his closing argument by acknowledging Kobe Bryant’s 44th birthday: “It’s an honor to be here to seek justice and accountability” on behalf of the Bryants.

Vanessa Bryant cried and was comforted by her lawyer Luis Li as Lavoie reflected on how fire captain Brian Jordan allegedly photographed the remains of Gianna Bryant.

At the end of Lavoie’s arguments, Bryant buried his eyes in a handkerchief before getting up and walking out. She returned for the conclusion of Chester’s lawyer’s arguments.

Los Angeles County maintains its handling of the photos ultimately resulted in their successful deletion and claims it is being sued over photos that were never made public. But Lavoie told jurors the county couldn’t be sure because one of his deputies dropped the photos to an unidentified fire captain and the computer was missing a hard drive. Jordan’s cell phone when it was turned over to the county.

Lavoie said Bryant and Chester must live knowing “either the pictures will surface and all their fears will come true, or they will live in fear for the rest of their lives when that day comes,” he said. he declares.

Lavoie reminded the jury that in a federal civil suit, it is not necessary to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt; instead, the jury is asked to determine whether Los Angeles County, more likely than not, violated the constitutional rights of Bryant and Chester due to inadequate policies or training and/or custom. or a practice of taking illicit photos of the deceased.

On Tuesday, Bryant posted an Instagram message for Kobe, wishing him a happy birthday.

“Happy birthday baby! I love and miss you so much,” she wrote.

Filed in September 2020, the lawsuit seeks undisclosed damages, alleging civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misrepresented Chester’s role in the trial; he is co-applicant. He also gave an incorrect title for Dennis Breshears; he’s a former deputy fire chief.

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