Kobe Bryant’s wife sobs in court as jury told sheriff’s deputy shared graphic photos of crash site

·1 min read
Wreckage of the crashed helicopter that was carrying former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna smolders on the ground on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California. (Getty Images)
Wreckage of the crashed helicopter that was carrying former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna smolders on the ground on January 26, 2020 in Calabasas, California. (Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa sobbed as a California jury was told how a sheriff’s deputy shared graphic photos in a bar of the helicopter crash in which the basketball great and their daughter were killed.

Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others died in the crash on 26 January 2020 when it came down in bad weather as they flew from Orange County to a basketball tournament.

Ms Bryant’s lawyer, Luis Li, told the federal court in Los Angeles that just two days after the fatal accident, Deputy Joey Cruz was “showing pictures of [Kobe’s] decapitated body”, at a bar in Norwalk, California.

In his opening statement on the first day of the civil trial, Mr Li showed the 10-person jury video of Deputy Cruz sat at a bar where he showed his phone to the bartender, who walked away.

A whistleblower was so concerned at the deputy’s alleged actions that they filed a formal complaint with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

“January 26, 2020, was and always will be the worst day of Vanessa Bryant’s life,” Mr Li told the jury.

“County employees exploited the accident. They took and shared pictures of Kobe and Gianna as souvenirs. …They poured salt in an unhealable wound.”