Vanessa Bryant, Christopher Chester Awarded $31 Million Dollars In Kobe Crash Site Suit
After spending 11 days listening to graphic, emotional testimony, a federal jury has ruled in favor of co-plaintiffs Vanessa Bryant and Christopher Chester. Bryant and Chester were awarded a total of $31 million dollars, with $15 million going to Chester and $16 million going to Bryant. Bryant’s attorney Luis Li issued a statement saying it was always about accountability.
“And now the jury has unanimously spoken,” Li said.
Christopher Chester lost his wife, Sarah Chester, and his 13-year-old daughter Payton Chester in the fatal crash involving the NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Vanessa Bryant posted on her Instagram account a photo of herself, Kobe, and her late daughter Gigi with the caption “All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi!” LA County Attorney Mira Hashmall issued a statement shortly after the conclusion of the trial, stating that they disagree with the verdict.
“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’ request of $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.”
Bryant claimed in her lawsuit that Los Angeles County firefighters and sheriff’s deputies were allowed to take unnecessary close-up photos of human remains around the site, including the bodies of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and the photos were then shared among sheriff’s deputies and firefighters.
During certain portions of testimony, Vanessa Bryant had reportedly broke down in tears before walking out of the federal courtroom. Bryant sued Los Angeles County for invasion of privacy after first responders allegedly shared photos of her late husband’s corpse with nearly 30 people. A bartender alleged that a deputy named Joey Cruz had shown him the images at Baja California Bar & Grill.
One of the attorneys argued that surveillance video of their interaction showed the two laughing at the gruesome images, including Kobe Bryant’s mangled body. But the bartender denied they were laughing and said that would have been “psycho”. When one of the attorneys mentioned a “girl”, Bryant began crying and was excused from the courtroom. Now the difficult trial has come to a close for Bryant after a long and public battle. The County can choose to appeal the verdict but overturning a jury verdict is very difficult.
CNN has more HERE.