Vanessa Bryant's Lawsuit Alleges Kobe Crash Images Were Shared on Nearly 30 Sheriff's Department Devices

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame

ESPN Vanessa Bryant

Vanessa Bryant's attorneys claim that "close-up photos" of her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna Bryant were shared on at least 28 different Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department devices, in the latest update in her ongoing lawsuit.

Attorneys for 39-year-old Bryant made the allegations in a document filed Thursday and obtained by PEOPLE, just ahead of the second anniversary of Kobe and Gianna's deaths in a helicopter crash while on their way to a youth basketball game on Jan. 26, 2020.

In addition to their claims that the graphic crash site images were on more than two dozen sheriff's department devices, Bryant's attorneys allege that the photos were passed around by at least 12 county firefighters. The filing also claims that the content was also shown at bars and by a firefighter at a gala for the 2020 Golden Mike Awards, an event for broadcast journalists in Southern California.

Attorneys for Bryant allege in the document that sheriff's deputies and firefighters tried to suppress evidence of the photographs.

"It has also shown that defendants engaged in a cover-up, destroying the direct forensic evidence of their misconduct and requiring extensive circumstantial evidence to establish the full extent of that misconduct," Bryant's team said in the documents.

Skip Miller, a partner at the Miller Barondess law firm and outside counsel for L.A. County, told PEOPLE in December that the county maintains that no images of Kobe and Gianna's bodies were shared with the public.

Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant
Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant

Ethan Miller/Getty Images Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant

"While the County sympathizes with Ms. Bryant's tragic loss, it did not cause the crash that claimed the lives of her husband and child," Miller said at the time. "Rather, it responded to that crash and, at her specific request, set up a no-fly zone, undertook extensive efforts to keep the public and paparazzi away, and made sure none of the investigative photos were ever publicly disseminated."

"The County did its job and believes there is no merit to this lawsuit," he added.

RELATED: Jerry West Recalls How 'Rare' Kobe Bryant Was, Gets Emotional Over Vanessa's 2020 Christmas Card

Representatives for Bryant's legal team did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

In previous declarations submitted in the lawsuit, Bryant's legal team claimed eight L.A. County Sheriff's Department deputies took photographs of the crash victims and shared them with unauthorized people. Bryant also said she asked LA. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to secure the crash site to limit anyone from taking unauthorized photographs or video out of fear the images could be disseminated.

RELATED VIDEO: Vanessa Bryant Reflects Back on Kobe in Emotional Speech as She Accepts Honor at Baby2Baby Gala

Bryant is seeking damages for emotional distress and mental anguish in relation to the alleged image leak. She has stated her goal with the suit is not monetary, but rather to prevent similar situations from happening again.

The trial is set to begin in February 2022.

RELATED: Remembering Kobe Bryant: Inside the Life and Legacy of the Sports Icon and 'Intensely Proud' Dad

Along with Kobe and Gianna, the crash also killed 13-year-old Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, 46, 14-year-old Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56 and Christina Mauser, 38.