The Heartbreaking Reason Vanessa Bryant's Lawyer Is Asking For Steep Award In Kobe Crash Trial

The world was stunned when the news broke in January 2020 that Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, and seven others had died in a helicopter crash. Per the Associated Press (via NPR), when the famed baller retired from playing professionally in 2016, he went out with a bang. Kobe's last game was "the sixth 60-point" he'd played, breaking the record for "most shots taken by anyone in an NBA game in the last 30 seasons." The star athlete put his basketball days behind him, but at 37 years old, he still had his whole life ahead — until tragedy struck.

Per TMZ, his widow, Vanessa Bryant, filed a lawsuit against the LA County Sheriff's department after discovering photos of Kobe's crash scene leaked. The court documents claim that eight sheriff's deputies used their own phones to take pictures of those who died in the accident, including children. It's alleged the pics were sent to other officers and even shown to outsiders.

During her testimony, Vanessa revealed the hopes Kobe had for the future. According to Nicki Swift's courtroom reporter, he'd vowed to put his family first post-retirement and make them his sole focus. Vanessa admitted their marriage had sometimes been a rocky ride, but it included plenty of amazing, happy, and beautiful moments. "He is still my best friend," she tearfully admitted. No amount of money could ever bring loved ones back. Still, there's a heartbreaking reason Vanessa Bryant's lawyer is asking for a steep award in the Kobe crash trial.

Vanessa Bryant's lawyer reveals the extent of pain and distress caused

Vanessa Bryant and her co-plaintiff, Chris Chester, who lost his wife and teenage daughter in the crash, admitted they were "blindsided" by the news that the photos existed. The Los Angeles Times reported the pics included disturbing and graphic images of the gruesome state the victims were discovered post-crash. According to Entertainment Tonight, the photos were circulated internally and allegedly shown to a bartender and their customers. An officer admitted to sharing the images while playing "Call of Duty." And a first responder reportedly showed the photos "to a group attending an awards ceremony."

According to Nicki Swift's court reporter, Vanessa revealed details of a disturbing threat she'd received over Kobe's crash photos being made public. She admitted to suffering continued panic attacks and anxiety over the images. During his testimony, Chester drew attention to the fact that the fire chief's hard drive was missing when he handed his laptop over for investigation. Begging the question as to what photos still remain. Not to mention the number of possible copies that have already been circulated and shared.

Per Bloomberg, during closing arguments, attorney Craig Lavoie told the nine-person jury that Vanessa and Chester lived in constant fear of the pics being published one day. He requested the jury award his client and Chester "$2.5 million" for emotional pain and suffering and "$1 million a year for the rest of their lives."