Los Angeles County files motion to dismiss Vanessa Bryant photo leak lawsuit on grounds that crash site photos are ‘gone’ and ‘cannot be recovered’

Vanessa Bryant and Kobe BryantDonato Sardella / Getty Images

  • Los Angeles County has filed a motion to dismiss Vanessa Bryant’s photo leak lawsuit.

  • District attorneys have claimed that Kobe Bryant’s crash site photos are deleted and cannot be recovered.

  • Bryant sued the county for emotional distress and a breach of privacy after officers took pictures of the plane crash.

Lawyers representing Los Angeles County, members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department filed an application Monday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow.

In September last year, Vanessa Bryant sued the Los Angeles Police Department, the Fire Department, the county, and eight individual officers, after reports that first responders had taken and shared photos of the horrific crash site where her daughter, Kobe Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, had died, and seven others had died. In January 2020.

Los Angeles County lawyers have argued that photos of the former NBA star’s helicopter crash have been deleted and cannot be restored.

According to court records, the defendants are seeking a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit based on work by an independent forensic examiner who reviewed more than 20 LASD and LACFD devices and reportedly did not find images of the crash site.

In the past months, it was reported that Kroll’s Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Team, the forensic examiner selected by the parties in the case, was unable to retrieve photos of the accident scene from the officers’ electronic devices.

“After reviewing more than 20 LASD and LACFD devices, Kroll confirmed that there are no images containing the victims’ remains and no evidence of public publication,” the attorneys representing the county said in the filing.

“So the plaintiff has nothing to fear. The photos are gone and cannot be recovered, according to Kroll expert and the plaintiff,” they added.

The Los Angeles Times reported at the time that Bryant had accused the deputies of “negligence”, “willful infliction of emotional distress and violation of her right to privacy.”

“The plaintiff’s allegation is also based on her fear of public publication,” the district’s attorneys wrote. They added that, “So far, almost two years after the breakup, it is indisputable that images of LASD or LACFD have not been posted on the Internet, published in the media, or otherwise made public.”

After the incident, Los Angeles County Mayor Alex Villanueva apologized, acknowledged that eight officers had taken the photos, and said the photos had been deleted and that deputies were under investigation.

Bryant’s attorneys recently filed a motion for sanctions against Los Angeles County, saying that the LACFD and LASD did not require employees to keep key information and evidence that might be incriminating.

The insider has reached out to Bryant’s attorneys and attorneys representing the county for comment.

The parties to the case have until November 29 to finish the discovery.

In previous filings, Bryant’s attorneys stated that they made nearly 50 statements with several Los Angeles sheriffs, fire captains, and Los Angeles County employees, and Los Angeles County claimed it performed an electronic forensic test on the electronic devices of employees who took photos from the accident.

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