A former LA County fire official delivered tense testimony in the ongoing Vanessa Bryant case.
Retired Fire Captain Brian Jordan said he took 25 to 30 photos of the crash that killed Kobe Bryant.
Jordan testified that he took the photos at the behest of his boss but didn't remember specifics.
A former LA County fire official accused of taking and sharing photos of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed nine people, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, took a combative approach in court on Monday as he testified that he was simply following orders at the scene of the tragedy.
Retired LACFD Fire Captain and Safety Officer Brian Jordan abruptly left the stand three separate times during his tense Monday morning testimony which kicked off the fourth day of the trial between Vanessa Bryant and Los Angeles County.
Bryant filed a lawsuit against the county and other defendants over allegations that LA sheriff's deputies and Los Angeles County Fire Department captains took and shared photos of the helicopter crash site in late January 2020.
Jordan had made efforts to try and avoid testifying ahead of the trial, filing a protective order citing the gruesome crash site's impact on his mental health. His negative mental health was the same reason he gave for retiring early after he was issued a letter of intent for discharge over the improper crash site photos.
"I am here because of false allegations, because someone threw my name into the mix," Jordan said in court on Monday.
Jordan, who wore a blue suit and spoke with a booming voice, was short on the stand and highly averse to discussing the details of the scene. He said he was frequently required to take photos of such sites as part of his role as a public information officer with LACFD at times.
The retired fire official testified that he took approximately 25 to 30 photos at the scene of the helicopter crash but told the courtroom that he didn't remember anything specific about them.
"I don't remember the accident," Jordan testified. "I don't remember what I did," later adding that he "may have been ordered to cover someone up."
Jordan said he only took the photos because his superior, Fire Chief Anthony Marrone, instructed him to — a claim Marrone denied in a previous deposition.
"Maybe that was the day I should have been insubordinate," Jordan told the court.
When an attorney for Bryant asked Jordan whether or not Kobe Bryant's remains appeared in any of the photos he took, Jordan abruptly stormed out of the courtroom accompanied by his lawyer, saying he needed a break. Jordan paused his own testimony two additional times afterwards, walking out of the room with his attorney each time.
"I had an image in my head that was not pleasant," he later said. "There are these images I've been living with every day."
Bryant's attorney also asked whether Jordan took any photos of 13-year-old Gianna Bryant's remains at the scene.
"I don't even know who that is. Sorry for your loss, wherever Vanessa Bryant is," he answered. Vanessa Bryant was seated on the plaintiff's bench, a few feet away from Jordan.
Jordan testified that he sent the photos he took to former LA County Fire Department PIO Tony Imbrenda, who is accused of having shared the photos at a February 2020 gala.
Jordan confirmed that he had since deleted all of the pictures, and turned in all of his County-issued electronics–claiming that he hadn't removed a hard-drive from a work laptop after an allegation that he may have from Vanessa Bryant's attorney, Luis Li.
His testimony came after Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Doug Johnson — another first responder accused of taking and sharing the photos — testified on Friday that he had "no regrets" about how the crash scene was handled. In a defiant moment on Monday, Jordan told the court "you're not gonna put me against my brother deputy."
On January 26, 2020, a helicopter transporting Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and the baseball coach John Altobelli and his family crashed near Malibu, California, as they were heading to a girls basketball game. All nine people aboard, including the pilot, Ara Zobayan, died in the crash.
In September 2020, Vanessa Bryant sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the county's fire department, the county as a whole, and eight officers in the wake of reports that first responders took and shared photos of the January 2020 crash site.
Chris Chester, whose wife, Sarah, and daughter Payton died in the crash, is also suing county workers on the same claims and will have a consolidated nine-day trial alongside Bryant's against the county.
Read the original article on Insider