Vanessa Bryant reached $28.85 million settlement with Los Angeles County over helicopter accident photos

 Vanessa Bryant reached $28.85 million settlement with Los Angeles County over helicopter accident photos

Photo: Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant, the late NBA great Kobe Bryant’s wife, has negotiated a nearly $30 million settlement with Los Angeles County over images taken at the scene of the deadly 2020 helicopter accident, according to a county attorney.

According to Mira Hashmall, lead trial counsel for Los Angeles County in the case, the settlement is for $28.85 million and settles all claims involving the county.

The agreement ends litigation with the county regarding grim photos first responders took of the crash site on January 26, 2020, that were later viewed or shared with others.

Kobe Bryant, 41, of the Los Angeles Lakers, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other persons were killed in the collision in Calabasas, near the Southern California coast northwest of Los Angeles.

According to Hashmall, the almost $30 million settlement includes the $15 million granted to Vanessa Bryant by a jury in August.

The deal also resolves any outstanding claims in state court and any future claims by the Bryant children, she added. The couple had three further children.

“We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss,” Hashmall said. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the settlement, she said.

Bryant’s attorneys did not reply immediately to requests for comment Tuesday evening.

Confession given in court revealed that a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy showed a photo of Kobe Bryant’s corpse to a bartender, leading another bar patron to file an official complaint.

At an awards banquet, firefighters shared photos with one another, and some shared them with their spouses, according to evidence.

In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant is a superstar. He spent his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, retiring in 2016.

Chris Chester, whose wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, 13, were killed in the collision, also filed a lawsuit over the photos and how they were handled. A jury also granted him $15 million in August, and the county agreed last year to pay an extra $4.95 million to resolve any remaining claims.

John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, 46, their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, 14, and Christina Mauser, 38, were all killed in the crash.

The Altobelli and Mauser families reached a $1.25 million settlement with the county.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the helicopter pilot’s poor decisions and “spatial disorientation” caused the disaster in February 2021. The pilot, who also perished, continued to fly into instrument meteorological conditions under visual flight rules.

According to the NTSB, the pilot, Ara Zobayan, 50, stated that he was climbing to get above clouds. Instead, the plane immediately descended in a left turn to the earth and crashed.

NTSB member Michael Graham noted at the time that the pilot should have avoided the weather by diverting, returning to base, or landing.

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