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Vanessa Bryant has been awarded $16 million in damages after a jury found graphic photos of the helicopter crash which killed her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant were shared.
The pair died in the January 2020 incident along with seven others, and a Los Angeles jury has now found the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and Fire Department (LAFD) shared photos of Vanessa and her co-plaintiff Chris Chester’s loved ones’ bodies, and caused emotional distress by doing so.
According to PEOPLE, the LASD were told to pay Vanessa $10 million and Chris – who tragically lost his wife Sarah and their 13-year-old daughter Payton in the crash – $9 million, and the LAFD were ordered to fork out $6 million each.
After the verdict was reached on Wednesday (24.08.22), Vanessa shared a picture of herself alongside basketball legend Kobe and her daughter Gigi on Instagram, and she added the caption: “All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi! #Betonyourself #MambaDay 8 24 22 #MambaMentality (sic)”
The verdict also happened to come on Kobe Bryant Day, also known as Mamba Day, on August 24th, due to his shirt numbers for the Los Angeles Lakers being eight and 24.
Vanessa got emotional as the verdict was read, and she embraced her attorneys.
Her attorney Luis Li said in a statement: “This case has always been about accountability. And now the jury has unanimously spoken.”
Attorney Mira Hashmall, the lead outside counsel for the county, said in a statement: “While we disagree with the jury’s findings as to the county’s liability, we believe the monetary award shows that jurors didn’t believe the evidence supported the plaintiffs’ requests for $75 million for emotional distress.
“We will be discussing next steps with our client. Meanwhile, we hope the Bryant and Chester families continue to heal from their tragic loss.”
In October, Vanessa revealed she first learned of Kobe’s death online.
Vanessa was asked during a deposition by a county attorney when she was first made aware of the accident, and confirmed that a family assistant informed her that Kobe and Gianna had been in an incident, but she suspected that they were among the survivors.
However, the tragic truth was revealed as messages popped up on her phone.
According to a transcript of the deposition, Vanessa said: “I was holding onto my phone, because obviously I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying ‘RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe’.
“My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter.”