Vanessa Bryant Can Get Names of Deputies Who Shared Graphic Photos of Crash Site, Judge Rules
By CBS News
A federal judge ruled Monday that Vanessa Bryant can obtain the names of four Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who her lawyers contend in a lawsuit shared "unauthorized" graphic photos of the scene of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others, CBS Los Angeles reports, citing the Los Angeles Times.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter rejected the effort of L.A. County lawyers to keep the deputies' names under seal in the suit against the four, according to the newspaper. The county's lawyers argued that releasing the deputies' names could make them the target of hackers.
The ruling means Bryant's lawyers can add the deputies' names — as well as details from the internal affairs investigation into their conduct — to an amended complaint in the suit against the county and the sheriff's department, the Times says.
"Although the Court recognizes that this case has been the subject of public scrutiny and media attention and that the Deputy Defendants are legitimately concerned that they will encounter vitriol and social media attacks, such concerns, by themselves, are not sufficient to outweigh the public's strong interest in access," Walter wrote in his ruling.
The lawsuit seeks damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and emotional distress and alleges deputies and firefighters took and shared photos on their personal cellphones of the remains of the nine people who died in the Jan. 26, 2020 crash.
Local court rules give the county four days to appeal the ruling, according to the Times.
This article was originally published on CBSNews.com on March 9, 2021.