LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant’s widow will not have to pass psychiatric tests in her lawsuit over the explicit images of the 2020 helicopter crash in which the basketball star, his 13-year-old daughter and others were killed, it determined Monday a federal judge.
Los Angeles County had requested mental health screenings for Vanessa Bryant and others to determine whether they had indeed suffered emotional distress from the images of the incident and the bodies, which it claimed were taken and shared by firefighters and county police officers. .
Judge Charles F. Eick deemed the request for the psychiatric examination inappropriate. Hearings in Bryant’s invasion of privacy lawsuit were scheduled to begin in February.
Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people were killed on January 26, 2020 when the helicopter in which they were flying to a girls basketball tournament crashed in the hills west of Los Angeles amid fog. Federal aviation safety agents blamed the pilot for the accident.
Bryant’s lawsuit alleges that emergency workers such as firefighters and police officers shared images of Kobe Bryant’s body with a waitress and sent others “free images of dead coaches, parents and children.”
In a statement, Bryant said that “for the rest of my life I will be afraid that these photographs of my husband and my little girl will be leaked.”
The judge ruled last week that the county fire chief and police chief should testify in the case.
County attorneys alleged that Bryant had not seen the photos and that they were not released publicly, and wanted to determine whether he had indeed suffered emotional distress.
They had requested that Bryant and other relatives of those killed in the accident, including children, pass psychiatric evaluations as independent medical examinations.