Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa was awarded $16 million in a $31 million jury verdict Wednesday against Los Angeles County for deputies and firefighters' sharing grisly photos of the NBA star, his 13-year-old daughter and other victims killed in a 2020 helicopter crash, the Associated Press reports. The nine jurors unanimously agreed with Vanessa Bryant that the photos invaded her privacy and caused emotional distress. She cried quietly as it was read. The jury deliberated 4 1/2 hours before reaching the verdict on Kobe Bryant Day, which is celebrated in L.A. on Aug. 24 because it represents his jersey numbers — 8 and 24 — and is the day after his birthday. He would have turned 44 on Tuesday.
The pictures were shared mostly among employees of the L.A. County sheriff’s and fire departments, including by some who were playing video games and attending an awards banquet. They were also seen by some of their spouses and in one case by a bartender at a bar where a deputy was drinking. Vanessa Bryant's co-plaintiff Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter were also among the nine people killed in the crash, was awarded $15 million. Vanessa Bryant’s attorneys did not give jurors a dollar amount their client deserved, but Chester’s attorney suggested guidelines that would have meant tens of millions for each plaintiff.