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Vanessa Bryant awarded $16 million in lawsuit over Kobe Bryant crash photos

Vanessa Bryant has won a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over leaked photos from the site of the helicopter crash that killed her husband and daughter. 

A jury on Wednesday awarded the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant $16 million, while Chris Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the same helicopter crash, was awarded $15 million, according to The New York Times

Bryant sued Los Angeles County after it was reported that officials inappropriately shared pictures that were taken from the scene of the helicopter crash where Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and seven others were killed in January 2020. The photos have not been publicly leaked, but Bryant alleged emotional distress in her lawsuit. 

"The gratuitous images soon became talked about within the department, as deputies displayed them to colleagues in settings that had nothing to do with investigating the accident," her lawsuit said. "One deputy even used his photos of the victims to try to impress a woman at a bar, bragging about how he had been at the crash site."

During the trial, Bryant testified that she hasn't seen the photos but continues to live "in fear" that she will and that they could leak online. She also told the jury that when she heard the pictures had been shared, "I felt like I wanted to run down the block and scream. I can't escape my body. I can't escape what I feel." The county previously paid $2.5 million in settlements to other families who lost loved ones in the crash. 

Bryant shared a photo of herself with Kobe and Gianna on Instagram after winning the lawsuit, writing, "All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi!"