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Vanessa Bryant sues Los Angeles Sheriff and his department

Written by on September 23, 2020

Vanessa Bryant is suing the L.A. County Sheriff and his department after deputies reportedly took photos of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s bodies at the helicopter crash site in January.

In the lawsuit, Vanessa claims, ‘No fewer than 8 sheriff’s deputies at the crash site pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification.’

The widow is claiming the photos and their distribution among officers caused her emotional distress, as she says the pictures were the subject of conversation that had no investigative purpose. 

Vanessa is suing Sheriff Alex Villanueva, alleging he tried to cover it up by telling deputies they would not face repercussions if they deleted the photos and she is  now is fearful the photos will leak. 

‘Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,’ the suit states. 

Vanessa Bryant is suing the L.A. County Sheriff and his department after deputies took photos of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s bodies at the crash site

Vanessa is suing Sheriff Alex Villanueva, alleging he tried to cover it up by telling deputies they would not face repercussions if they deleted the photos

She claims in the lawsuit that at least eight deputies took photos on their cell phones ‘for their own personal gratification’

 The lawsuit also reveals the photos were exposed when a deputy at the bar showed a woman the photos in an effort to impress her. 

The bartender reportedly overheard the conversation and reported it, exposing the sheriff’s department.   

The lawsuit also claims Villanueva’s attempt to cover up the photos was destruction of evidence. Vanessa says Villanueva never even told the families about the photos and they only learned about it through the media.  

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, including punitive damages.

This comes as Vanessa is already dealing with emotional distress due to her mother Sofia Lane’s shocking TV interview where she claimed her daughter had kicked her out of the house.  

In a statement to the Spanish language show ‘El Gordo y La Flaca’ on Univision, Vanessa called her mother’s actions ‘more than painful’ and revealed she and Kobe have financially supported her for two decades. 

The lawsuit states that Vanessa ‘lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online’

‘My husband and daughter passed away unexpectedly and yet my mother had the audacity to do a television interview talking negatively about me while shedding tears over a car and a house that’s not in her name,’ Vanessa said in a statement in Spanish. 

‘She has taken all of her diamond jewelry, she has emptied the apartment that I provided her and put away the furniture so it appears she doesn’t have my suppose. My husband and I have supported her financially during the last 20 years, and we continued doing so, in addition to her monthly alimony. 

‘Contrary to previous reports, she has not been physically present nor has she emotionally supported my daughters and me after my husband and daughter died.’

‘I now see what’s most important to my mother and it’s more than painful. I hope everything that is coming out about our personal relationship ends here,’ Vanessa said in the statement. 

Sofia Laine is pictured touching Vanessa Bryant’s stomach last year when she was pregnant with her youngest daughter. In a statement, Vanessa called her mother’s actions ‘more than painful’ and revealed she and Kobe have financially supported her for two decades

‘My husband and daughter passed away unexpectedly and yet my mother had the audacity to do a television interview talking negatively about me while shedding tears over a car and a house that’s not in her name,’ Vanessa said in a statement in Spanish

Vanessa Bryant’s full statement in response to her mother’s claims 

My husband and daughter passed away unexpectedly and yet my mother had the audacity to do a television interview talking negatively about me while shedding tears over a car and a house that’s not in her name.

She has taken all of her diamond jewelry, she has emptied the apartment that I provided her and put away the furniture so it appears she doesn’t have my suppose. My husband and I have supported her financially during the last 20 years, and we continued doing so, in addition to her monthly alimony. 

Contrary to previous reports, she has not been physically present nor has she emotionally supported my daughters and me after my husband and daughter died.

I now see what’s most important to my mother and it’s more than painful. I hope everything that is coming out about our personal relationship ends here.

 Vanessa Bryant  

Her mother Sofia Laine made the claim in an interview on Univision that aired Monday, alleging that the mother-of-four also demanded the immediate return of a vehicle.

‘She told me, ‘I need you to get out of this house.’ She also told me that she wanted her car and she wants it now,’ Laine cried to interviewer Dave Valadez on the Spanish language show. 

Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a Calabasas, California helicopter crash along with several other passengers and a pilot in January. 

It’s unclear what might have happened between the mother and daughter to cause the apparent rift.

She told me, ‘I need you to get out of this house,’ Sofia Laine said in an interview for Univision’s ‘El Gorda y La Flaca’ that aired on Monday

Laine was last pictured with Vanessa in a Thanksgiving family photo that was posted on Kobe’s Instagram account last November.

The family owns multiple properties on the Newport Coast and Sofia used to live in one until it was sold in 2013.

After the basketball legend’s death, a source told Us Weekly that Laine was helping Vanessa and her grandchildren – Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

‘[Vanessa] is incredibly close to her mom and her mom has been her rock throughout the past few weeks,’ the insider said.

‘Her mom is always with her and the girls and she’s been keeping Vanessa strong and she’s the weight of her support system.’

Laine also appeared to be very close to Kobe and was waiting outside his locker room in 2015 after he played his last game.

Their relationship may have been even more special Kobe admitted he didn’t get along with his own parents.

Laine (left next to Gianna Bryant) was last pictured with Vanessa in a Thanksgiving family photo posted on Kobe’s Instagram

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019. They both died in the helicopter crash in January 2020

It’s not clear how Vanessa and her mother’s relationship was at Kobe’s memorial in February. Singer Beyonce was seen comforting the widow at the LA Lakers’ home of the Staples Center in Los Angeles during the service.

It’s unclear where Laine – who also has a daughter named Sophie Laine – could be living now.

The grandmother divorced Vanessa’s stepfather in 2003 after 13 years of marriage on claims that he cheated. He denied the claims.

In 2011 when Vanessa and Kobe almost split over infidelity matters, Vanessa’s estranged stepfather – whose last name she took as a child – compared her to her mother.

‘Her mother taught her well to wait for the 10-year mark,’ Stephen Laine said about their 10-year union. 

‘In California, it’s considered a long term marriage and then she gets paid for life or until she remarries … just like her mother is doing to me. I have to pay her mom $1,800 every month and clearly, they don’t need it.’

This content was originally published here.


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