Vanessa Bryant settles for $28.85M over crash photos

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Field Level Media
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Feb 19, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Vanessa Bryant in attendance in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Arena.
Feb 19, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Vanessa Bryant in attendance in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Arena.
Image: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Vanessa Bryant settled her remaining claims against the County of Los Angeles on Tuesday over the sharing of graphic photos of her husband Kobe Bryant and their daughter Gianna after the two were killed in a helicopter crash in 2020.

Per the terms of the settlement, Vanessa Bryant and her children will receive $28.85 million from the county, a total that includes $15 million awarded to Vanessa Bryant by a federal-court jury in August 2022.

"Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant's courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct," Bryant attorney Luis Li said in a statement. "She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice."

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Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among nine people killed when a helicopter crashed into a Los Angeles-area hillside in foggy weather on the morning of Jan. 26, 2020. First responders reportedly took more than 100 photos of the crash scene, including the bodies of the decedents, and then shared them mostly among other employees of the county sheriff's and fire departments (though spouses and at least one bartender also reportedly saw the photos).

The lead lawyer representing the county called the settlement "fair and reasonable."

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"We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss," Mira Hashmall added.

Chris Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, settled his claims against the county for almost $20 million in September 2022.

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The helicopter was on its way to Kobe Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at the time of the crash. Kobe was set to coach Gianna's basketball team. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that pilot Ara Zobayan's decision to fly in adverse weather conditions -- notably flying into thick clouds -- caused him to experience spatial disorientation and ultimately crash in Calabasas, northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

--Field Level Media