Vanessa Bryant's $23 million gesture after court win over Kobe photos

·4-min read
Vanessa Bryant says she wants her incredible gesture to help shine a light on her late husband Kobe's legacy. Pic: Getty
Vanessa Bryant says she wants her incredible gesture to help shine a light on her late husband Kobe's legacy. Pic: Getty

Details have emerged of Vanessa Bryant's incredible $23 million plan after the widow of the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant was awarded a massive payout in her lawsuit against the Los Angeles County.

Bryant was awarded US$16 million ($AUD23 million) after a jury ruled in her favour in a civil case against the LA County, launched in response to authorities who took and shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash which claimed the life of her husband Kobe, and daughter Gianna.

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Following the court ruling, the attorney for the NBA widow announced that she plans to donate the entirety of the payout to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, the nonprofit named in her husband and daughter's memory.

Seen here, Vanessa Bryant leaves federal court after a jury ordered Los Angeles County to pay her $16 million in damages.
Vanessa Bryant leaves federal court after a jury ordered Los Angeles County to pay her $16 million in damages for graphic photos sheriffs deputies and firefighters took at the scene of the 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna. Pic: Getty

The foundation, established by Kobe in 2016 and renamed after the crash in 2020, is dedicated to providing funding and sports programming to underserved athletes.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Bryant was donating the money to the foundation “to shine a light on Kobe and Gigi’s legacy".

A jury awarded the US$16 million to Bryant and an additional US$15 million to Chris Chester, whose wife Sarah and daughter Payton also died in the crash.

Bryant accused the Los Angeles County of an invasion of her privacy, after accusing members of the Los Angeles County sheriff's and fire departments of sharing gruesome images of the crash in unofficial settings, including to patrons in a bar.

Chester's wife Sarah, 45, and 13-year-old daughter Payton were among the nine people who lost their lives in the crash.

They joined Bryant's lawsuit and were handed US$15 million, bringing the total amount that the jury awarded to US$31 million.

The ruling ended a legal battle that had been in the works for two years. During the trial, Bryant's legal team alleged she had suffered emotional distress from several employees of the LA County Sheriff's Department and Fire Department sharing photos from the crash site, including pictures of the bodies of her husband and daughter.

The majority of the money came from the Sheriff's Department, as the jury found the department had an established practice of sharing such photos.

Vanessa Bryant says 'justice' was served after ruling

“From the beginning, Vanessa Bryant has sought only accountability, but our legal system does not permit her to force better policies, more training or officer discipline,” her attorney Luis Li said in a statement.

“Those measures are the responsibility of the sheriff’s and fire departments — responsibilities that Mrs. Bryant’s efforts have exposed as woefully deficient, even giving amnesty to the wrongdoers.”

He added that Bryant “never faltered, even when the county attempted to force her to submit to an involuntary psychiatric examination.”

Bryant left the courthouse without speaking to reporters following the verdict, but called the outcome "justice" for her husband and daughter in an Instagram post soon afterwards.

Vanessa Bryant was awarded a multimillion dollar payout from a jury after winning her civil suit against Los Angeles County. Pictures: Getty Images
Vanessa Bryant was awarded a multimillion dollar payout from a jury after winning her civil suit against Los Angeles County. Pictures: Getty Images

Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people died in 2020 when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County on January 26.

Vanessa Bryant has also filed lawsuits against the helicopter charter company and the deceased pilot's estate.

The county already agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a similar case brought by families of others who died in the crash.

Kobe Bryant was 41 when he died. The Los Angeles Lakers great and 18-time All-Star won five NBA championships and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2020.

with Yahoo Sports US

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