- Vanessa Bryant will be able to call in a key witness in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County.
- Both her team and the county won at the final hearing before the trial began on Aug. 10.
- The second witness who made the complaint will not be able to testify.
A woman who complained she witnessed a former member of the Los Angeles County Fire Department showing off horrific photos of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash will be allowed to testify at the upcoming trial of Vanessa Bryant vs. Los Angeles County.
In January, Bryant’s lawyers asked the court to admit eyewitness testimony from Ralph Mendes Jr. and Luella Verrett, Two ordinary citizens who filed complaints Photos of helicopter crash claiming Kobe Bryant have been publicly shown.
On Friday, at a pre-trial conference ahead of next week’s trial, Judge John Walter said Mendes Jr. could not speak in court because it would be “unacceptable hearsay” because he had only overheard a conversation, but That Weireter can testify under certain circumstances.
In September 2020, Bryant sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the county’s fire department, the entire county and eight police officers over reports of first responders Photographs were taken and shared from the crash site in January 2020.
Her lawsuit is seeking punitive damages from county defendants accused of taking and sharing photos of the crash site. Bryant is suing the county for claims of negligence, emotional distress and invasion of privacy, as well as federal claims involving constitutional rights to photos of her deceased loved ones, as well as the actions of a Los Angeles County agent that led to the alleged acquisition and distribution of the photos. photo.
Bryant’s trial for the county begins Aug. 10.
Bryant’s lawsuit alleges that Tony Imbrenda, a former Los Angeles County Fire Department public information officer, quoted and showed the 2020 Golden Mike crash less than a month after Verrett attended. these photos.
According to Bryant’s team, Verrett filed a complaint with the county after allegedly seeing Imbrenda showing photos to others crowded around him and his cell phone during the ceremony. Verrett also claimed that she heard a fire chief hold his stomach and say, “I just saw pictures of Kobe Bryant being burned before I was going to eat.”
Walter said Verrett could only testify about what she saw from Imbranda and the fire chief.
The county had previously opposed requests for civilians to testify, saying “neither Mendez nor Verrett have seen any pictures of the crash site.”
“They either ‘eavesdropped’ on something from 20 feet away, or they were told what they were told by someone else. This is not proper evidence,” the Los Angeles County attorney wrote in February.