Tony Imbrenda: LA firefighter accused of showing pics of Kobe Bryant's body at gala denies allegations

Tony Imbrenda: LA firefighter accused of showing pics of Kobe Bryant's body at gala denies allegations
An investigator works at the scene (L) of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant (inset) (James Anderson/National Transportation Safety Board via Getty Images and Harry How/Getty Images)

CALABASAS, CALIFORNIA: A Los Angeles County firefighter said under oath on Wednesday, August 17, that he did not show photographs of Kobe Bryant’s body to guests at a gala less than a month after the NBA legend died in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Tony Imbrenda reportedly took the stand as part of a federal invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed by Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, and refused to accept that his girlfriend had tried to show the pictures of another crash victim to a relative. Vanessa Bryant’s attorney Luis Li told Imbrenda, "Your girlfriend was excited about the pictures," to which he responded saying, "My girlfriend had no knowledge of the pictures." 

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According to Law and Crime, Luella Weireter, whose cousin Keri Altobelli also died in the crash, testified that a number of attendees of California’s Golden Mike Awards were invited by Imbrenda’s partner to view pictures of the crash scene. However, Imbrenda testified that there was "no way" his girlfriend had done that. Although the firefighter acknowledged that he did show photos of the wreckage to other people, he insisted that none of them were of Bryant's corpse. “Are you testifying that your girlfriend was not animated when she went over to Luella Weireter” to ask to see the photos, Li asked. Imbrenda replied, “I’m adamantly testifying that’s not true."

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Weireter claimed she overheard Sky Cornell, another firefighter, say during the event, “I can’t believe I just looked at Kobe’s burnt up body and now I’m about to eat." Weireter said in court last week that she was “disgusted, shocked and was just trying to hold my composure” when she spotted Imbrenda sharing the photos. 

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Investigators work at the scene of the helicopter crash, where former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died, on January 28, 2020 in Calabasas, California. Kobe and
Investigators work at the scene of the helicopter crash, where former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Imbrenda also said that he took photos of the crash site the day after the incident and that he was sent photos from others as he was the county’s information officer, the New York Post reported. “What you did at the gala hurt the Bryant family," Li said, and Imbrenda responded saying, "As I said I can’t speak to what my actions resulted in. I would never engage in behavior that would hurt families." Another witness, LA fire Capt Erik Scott, who is the department’s current public information officer, said that he saw a few photos from Imbrenda at the gala, but the two of them only discussed how to handle a media frenzy and t had nothing to do with Byant's remains.

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Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, attend the WNBA All-Star Game 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, an ex-LACFD member testified this week that he was ordered to take photographs of the Kobe Bryant crash scene. Brian Jordan, a former captain with the Los Angeles County Fire Department testified in the trial that he does not seem to remember being at the site of the crash due to memory issues, but he recalled that high-ranking officials asked him to take pictures. 

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