Fire Captain Who Allegedly Showed Off Photos Of Kobe Bryant's Remains Gives Gruesome Defense

On August 10, Vanessa Bryant began her long-awaited invasion of privacy trial against Los Angeles County. And throughout the course of hearings so far, shocking claims have been brought to light concerning the accused first responders and the department's handling of sensitive death scene photos.

During the August 12 hearing, retired LAPD lieutenant Adam Bercovici gave a chilling testimony in which he said death photos, like Kobe's, are frequently shared among officers. In a statement noted by our Nicki Swift reporter, Bercovici revealed some officers even have "death books" or ghoul books" containing deceased individuals. During that same hearing, witness Luella Weireter — the wife of Los Angeles Fire Department captain Cody Weireter — told the court that Fire Captain Tony Imbrenda showed off the graphic photos during the Golden Mike Awards in 2020, as our Nicki Swift courtroom reporter revealed. Luella also claimed that fire fighter specialist Sky Cornell joked about seeing Kobe's "burnt up body" before proceeding to eat.

After an explosive August 15 testimony from retired firefighter Brian Jordan — who said he never took photos of the bodies from the crash site despite multiple witnesses claiming otherwise — the trial took another dramatic turn when Imbrenda took the stand. 

Fire captain denies sharing grisly photos of Kobe

On August 17, Los Angeles Fire Captain Tony Imbrenda testified, explaining how, on January 26, 2020, he showed up at the crash scene as a public information officer tasked with updating the media. The following day, he visited the impact site along with Fire Captain Arlin Kahan. Although he admitted to taking "three to five" photos on "Day 2" of the crash, Imbrenda fiercely denied he showed Kobe's mangled body at the aforementioned award show. He said Kobe's larger remains were moved early on during "Day 1" due to privacy concerns over the athlete's celebrity status, telling the court, "We understood there would be public interest." So, as he argued, Luella Weireter's story doesn't match.

As for the photos he took, Imbrenda built his side of the story with graphic details. He said the photographs were meant to showcase the whole crash scene, which happened to include many "smaller remains" mixed in with debris. These remains were delineated by red flags so they wouldn't get accidentally "stepped on" by officials, while the identifiable parts were covered with white blankets.

Not only did Imbrenda's statement contradict Weireter's testimony, but fellow Golden Mike Awards attendee Erik Scott revealed via a previously recorded interview that he saw "different body parts" and "somebody bent in half" in Imbrenda's cell photos. "There was feet. There might have been a torso," Scott recalled, per our Nicki Swift correspondent. Imbrenda also brushed off his actions causing distress to Vanessa, as well as Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also passed away in the crash. "I would never intend to hurt anybody," he said.