Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit against Los Angeles County is starting to sound nearly as invasive as the egregious breach of privacy she suffered after her husband’s death.
As we’ve been reporting, Kobe Bryant’s widow is suing the county because of “publicly disseminated photos from the helicopter crash site” where he and their daughter Gianna Bryant died, despite the fact that Vanessa had requested “that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers,” per her filing.
Her legal team has claimed that these photos spread throughout the Sheriff’s Department, and that “at least 10 members of the Sheriff’s Department obtained photos of the victims’ remains on their personal cell phones despite having no legitimate governmental use of the photos.” That, sadly, is in line with reporting from the time.
Related: LA County Blasts Vanessa For Endangering Deputies Who Shared Crash Photos
Meanwhile, the defense has argued that the photos didn’t cause Vanessa “severe and continuing emotional distress,” but rather the distress came from the crash and their deaths alone. The rest of us know that it’s possible to be upset by more than one thing at a time, particularly when it comes to a situation this public and awful. But of course, the county is looking for a legal loophole to protect its wallet.
Unfortunately, legally proving that Vanessa was not distressed by the photos requires them to probe into her private life. Previously, the judge ruled that the mother of four would not have to undergo a psychiatric exam to prove her emotional state. However, she was not so lucky when it came to her therapy visits.
On Monday, the judge granted the county’s motion requiring Vanessa and her therapist “to submit documents spanning from Jan. 1, 2017, to the present,” according to a filing obtained by People. The records must be turned over by November 29 ahead of the trial, scheduled for February 2022.
We mean, WTF??? Therapy should be a safe, private space for everyone. Now Vanessa’s most vulnerable moments will be exposed to the court, so the county can attempt to duck accountability for their actions on a technicality. And ironically, it’s all part of a trial surrounding a wrenchingly vulnerable moment for her family being exposed against their will. Disgusting.
The silver lining is that if she discussed the photograph leak with her therapist, it should be easier to prove legally that their existence has caused emotional distress. But even if she hadn’t talked about it with her therapist, that doesn’t prove it didn’t upset her.
Besides, the legal proceedings have already made her feelings on the subject totally clear. As Vanessa stated in her deposition:
“Emotional distress means that not only do I have to grieve the loss of my husband and child, but for the rest of my life I’m going to have to fear that those photographs of my husband and child will be leaked.”
So awful. We hope justice is served and Vanessa is granted the accountability that she seeks.
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