Vanessa Bryant Testifies How She First Learned Of Kobe And Gigi's Deaths
By Regina Park
October 24, 2021
The NBA star's widow recalled the fateful events of January 26, 2020 during a deposition for her lawsuit agains Los Angeles County who she is taking to court over the crash site photos she claims eight deputies shared among one another and at a bar.
Vanessa testified that after LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva told her of Kobe and Gigi's deaths in the crash, he promised to keep the crash site secure and assured her no one would take photos.
While under oath, Vanessa said that she first learned there had been a crash around 11:30 am, over two hours after the helicopter went down, when an assistant knocked on the door.
"She told me that there was an accident and that there were five survivors," Vanessa said via Zoom, according to court documents obtained by USA Today. "And I asked her if Gianna and Kobe were okay. And she said she wasn't sure. She didn't know."
Vanessa said that hearing the news of survivors, which turned out not to be true as all nine aboard were killed, she assumed that Kobe and Gigi had survived. But as she tried calling Kobe, she was receiving text messages expressing condolences for her husband.
"I was trying to call my husband back, and all these notifications started popping up on my phone, saying RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe. RIP Kobe," she said.
It was hours later when she officially heard word from the sheriff that both her husband and their 13-year-old daughter were dead.
Vanessa also testified that she was taken to an airport to try to take a helicopter to the crash site, but the weather conditions didn't permit it. She also revealed that she deduced the grim conditions of their bodies after recovering the clothing they had been wearing at the time of the crash.
"They suffered a lot," Bryant said in the deposition, according to The New York Times. "And if their clothes represent the condition of their bodies, I cannot imagine how someone could be so callous and have no regard for them or their friends and just share the images as if they were animals on the street."
"The impact of the helicopter crash was so damaging, I just don't understand how someone can have no regard for life and compassion, and, instead choose to take that opportunity to photograph lifeless and helpless individuals for their own sick amusement," she added.
"My life will never be the same without my husband and daughter," she said.
Lawyers for Los Angeles County is requesting Bryant and the families of the other crash victims undergo psychiatric examination to "prove" emotional injuries from the crash site photos being shared.