Gianna Bryant and Kobe Bryant died tragically on January 26, 2020, and after their passing, Vanessa Bryant learned that reportedly sharing images of her late husband and daughter by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Vanessa filed a civil lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department in September 2020, stating that eight officers used their personal phones to take pictures of Kobe and Gianna’s remains at the collision site and afterwards displayed the gory images in public places. A case dismissal request from the Los Angeles County was turned down in December 2021. According to People, Vanessa said at the time, “It infuriates me that the people I trusted to defend the dignity of my husband and daughter exploited their positions to gain souvenirs of their deaths.” A case dismissal request from the Los Angeles County was turned down in December 2021. According to People, Vanessa said at the time, “It infuriates me that the people I trusted to defend the dignity of my husband and daughter exploited their positions to gain souvenirs of their deaths.”
On August 10, once the jury had been chosen, the case began to be heard. Luis Li, Vanessa’s attorney, used stern language in his opening remarks. Li reportedly told the jury, “They collected and shared images of Kobe and Gianna as mementos.” They captured close-ups of burned flesh and limbs. Vanessa reportedly left the courtroom sobbing after hearing later testimony concerning pictures of her late spouse and daughter’s remains.
Vanessa’s difficult testimony is sadly not ended yet; according to Nicki Swift’s courtroom reporter, a fresh witness recalled a terrible joke that one firefighter is said to have made about Kobe’s remains.
On August 12, Luella Weireter, whose husband Cody Weireter works as a captain for the Los Angeles Fire Department, was the first witness to testify. Luella has a special link to the case because Keri Altobelli, her cousin, also perished in the same helicopter crash, and she allegedly saw officers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sharing gruesome images of the victims’ corpses. The witness remembers going to the Golden Mike Awards in February 2020, just a few weeks after the deadly collision, according to a Nicki Swift courtroom reporter. Luella claimed on the witness stand that Fire Captain Tony Imbrenda had shown the unsettling images to a group at the event that included Fire Fighter Specialist Sky Cornell.
Despite not looking at the pictures, Luella and her husband could both see what was going on. According to a Nicki Swift reporter, Luella remarked during her emotional testimony, “They were looking at images of the accident site.” Imbrenda’s wife, who was not aware of Luella’s relationship to Altobelli, attempted to persuade her to look at the pictures at one time by portraying her as “eager.”
The group spent about five minutes looking at the pictures, according to Luella. The witness recalls Cornell reportedly making jokes about the graphic images later. He allegedly said, apparently choked up at the memories, “I can’t believe I just looked at Kobe’s burnt up body and now I’m about to eat.” Our correspondent noticed Vanessa sobbing in silence and burying her head in her hands for much of the remaining testimony.
After allegedly seeing Fire Captain Tony Imbrenda share horrific images from the Kobe Bryant crash scene, Luella Weireter claimed she was appalled. She “didn’t get the chance” to face the group at the moment, but she persisted in thinking about it. On March 6, 2020, Luella complained about Imbrenda to Fire Station 70 in Malibu. According to a Nicki Swift courtroom reporter, she stated during her testimony that “What he did was horrible… Something had to be done.”
Weireter conceded during the defense’s cross-examination that the witness could not be convinced that the phone pictures were of remains discovered at the crash site. She walked quickly out of the courtroom after leaving the witness stand, clearly distressed. According to our correspondent, Vanessa Bryant was visibly upset and “apparently shocked” by the testimony.
Vanessa is obviously going through a really terrible time right now, and it appears to be growing worse by the day with each new testimony.