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Kobe Bryant family finally settles photo lawsuit


The family of late NBA star Kobe Bryant have agreed to a $28.5 million settlement with the Los Angeles County to resolve the remaining claims in a lawsuit over deputies and firefighters sharing grisly photos of the basketball star, his 13-year-old daughter and other victims killed in a 2020 helicopter crash, attorneys and court filings said on Tuesday.

The figure includes a newly agreed upon payment from the county of $13.5 million along with the $15 million a federal jury awarded Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, at a trial last August.

The agreement will resolve any future claims by Bryant’s three surviving daughters, related issues pending in state court, and other costs.

A proposed settlement order, which a judge must approve, was filed on Tuesday in a federal court.

Kobe Bryant, the former Lakers star, a five-time NBA champion and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, was traveling with his daughter Gianna and seven others to a youth basketball game when the helicopter they were aboard crashed into hills in Calabasas west of Los Angeles on January 26, 2020.

Deputies and firefighters responding to the crash scene shot phone photos of the bodies and the wreckage, which Hashmall argued at trial were an essential part of assessing the situation.

But the pictures were shared, mostly between employees of the county sheriff’s and fire departments, including by some who were playing video games and attending an awards banquet. They were also seen by some of their spouses and in one case by a bartender at a bar where a deputy was drinking.

Vanessa Bryant tearfully who testified during the 11-day trial that news of the photos compounded her still-raw grief a month after losing her husband and daughter, and that she still has panic attacks at the thought that they might still be out there and her daughters might someday see them online.

The verdict which was in her favor had been erroneously read as $16 million in court, but was later amended to $15 million.

While Chris Chester, Vanessa Bryant’s co-plaintiff at the trial, was also awarded $15 million at the trial, and reached his own settlement with the county in September for nearly $5 million more.

Although a Federal safety officials have blamed pilot errors for the crash itself.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas