Judge says Vanessa Bryant cannot show ALL horrifying messages she got after Kobe’s death to jury
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Mocking messages that Vanessa Bryant got after Kobe’s death before it was found out that sheriff’s deputies and firefighters had distributed disturbing photos of the accident has reportedly been banned from being presenting before the jury. However, the lawyers of the NBA legend’s widow have been given permission to show messages she got later, which includes one threatening to “leak Kobe’s body” and the other one is an aerial image of the January 2020 helicopter crash.
The decision was made Friday, August 5, by the US District Judge John F Walter ahead of the upcoming trial after Vanessa sued the LA county in September 2020. In her complaint, she had alleged that staff of county sheriff’s and the fire department unfairly clicked pictures of her husband and daughter, Gianna, after they died in the January 26, 2020, crash.
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Vanessa is being represented by lawyer Luis Li, who explained that those taunting online messages mean the plaintiff and her children “will have to have a very difficult relationship with the Internet for the rest of their lives.” However, lawyer Mira Hashmall, who is defending the county, claimed that “the county is not liable for internet trolls” and the social media taunts are “classic hearsay.”
During the three-hour hearing, Walter agreed with Hashmall to some extent but also pointed out that the messages towards Vanessa “meet the legal standard for admission in trial,” as reported by Law & Crime. The judge also noted that those messages won’t be shown to the jury members to be taken as truth but to indicate Vanessa’s mental state when she saw them.
Besides, the Friday ruling also saw Walter dismissing county lawyers’ effort to ban experts hired by Vanessa and Christopher Chester’s lawyers. Like Vanessa, Christopher too lost his wife, Sarah George Chester, and daughter, Payton, in the January 2020 accident. The mishap took away the lives of basketball coach Christina Mauser, pilot Ara Zobayan, and John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli.
Meanwhile, it has been said that the soon-to-be-held trial will see Adam Bercovici, a retired LAPD lieutenant who now serves as a consultant for law enforcement, testifying in the court. Bercovici has reportedly been permitted to only say things before the jurors related to his experiences and knowledge. He can speak about the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s policies and practices, including the photos’ removal, but he cannot give his point of view on the intention or rightness behind it. Law & Crime said that “Bercovici’s experiences include efforts he made while working as a police supervisor to try to change the widespread practice of law enforcement keeping photos of gruesome deaths as souvenirs, which is a key reason Bryant and Chester’s lawyers want him to testify.”
As per reports, for the upcoming trial, the jury selection will start on Wednesday, August 10, at 8:30 am, and Walter announced that the lawyers for both Bryant and Chester will have the permission to grill witnesses. Vanessa’s attorney Li said, “I want to make clear, this is not just about Mrs Bryant. Chris Chester has suffered just as much as she has.”
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But Hashmall had a problem with the mention of Vanessa’s children by Li. The lawyer added: “I’m very concerned that they plan to bring the children to court. I don’t want the jury to be looking at those children and be impacted.”