Vanessa Bryant will receive a $28.85 million settlement from Los Angeles County stemming from her claims that graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, and one of her daughters, Gianna, in 2020 were shared by members of the fire and sheriff’s department. That figure includes $15 million that was awarded to Bryant in August.
“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct,” Luis Li, Bryant’s lawyer, said in a statement. “She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice.”
Mira Hashmall, the lead lawyer for Los Angeles County in the case, said the settlement was “fair and reasonable” and ended all county-related litigation involving the accident. “We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss,” Hashmall said.
On Jan. 26, 2020, Kobe and Giannia Bryant were traveling to a youth basketball game in a helicopter along with seven other people, including two of Giannia’s teammates. Upon encountering severe fog, the pilot lost his sense of direction and eventually crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California. All nine people on board were killed.
Later that year, Vanessa Bryant sued the county for negligence and invasion of privacy after learning that photos of the crash site had been taken and shared by sheriff’s deputies and members of the fire department. In one incident, they were publicly shown at a bar. “I live in fear of my daughters being on social media and these popping up,” Bryant testified during the trial.
Vanessa Bryant plans to donate the settlement money to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, which she set up in honor of Kobe and Gianna. The non-profit is dedicated to “creating positive impact for underserved athletes and boys and girls in sports.”