Vanessa Bryant’s invasion of privacy lawsuit goes to the jury

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FILE – A body is covered, left, while another is seen at right at the scene of a helicopter crash that killed former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant and eight others in Calabasas, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff alleging negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress after deputies allegedly shared unauthorized photos of the crash that killed her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

(NewsNation) — Attorneys on both sides of Vanessa Bryant‘s invasion of privacy lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Fire departments. gave their closing statements Wednesday.

County attorneys argued that Bryant’s case is not the basis for a lawsuit against L.A. County, citing a lack of evidence and maintaining that an employee policy violation is not enough to prove amendment rights were violated.

Additionally, the county attorneys argued that there wasn’t a therapist or medical professional testifying that Bryant and Chris Chester — the other plaintiff in the case who lost loved ones in the helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant on Jan. 26, 2020 near Calabasas, California — suffered emotional distress.

County attorneys also pulled up Vanessa Bryant’s Instagram page, saying she was possibly out for revenge in initiating this lawsuit, referencing her Halloween costume last year as the Disney “101 Dalmatians” villain Cruella De Ville.

“They say there are five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance,” the caption reads. “Well, I’d like to add one more…revenge.” -Cruella.”

County attorneys also said the Bryant and Chester families have never seen the gruesome photos of their loved ones’ remains.

On the other side, Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, told jurors all of the victims deserved dignity, compassion and to be treasured. Li said emergency responders are heroes, but that that was not what happened in this case.

Li also said this was the worst day of Vanessa Bryant’s life, and that these officials poured salt into an unhealable wound when they shared photos with their family members and members of the public.

Speaking directly to jurors, he said they did not have the right to show death photos just because they have a badge, telling them they have the duty to decide what dissemination actually means.

He then played a news clip of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva admitting there was an decades-long, ongoing problem with officials having death books, and that law enforcement officials commonly took pictures of crime scenes and dead bodies.

NewsNation spoke with one of the attorneys for the defense, who said jurors will deliberate until 4 p.m. each day until they reach a verdict.

They will not, however, deliberate over the weekend if proceedings go beyond Friday.

There were originally 10 jurors in total on this case, but one had to leave early in the trial for family reasons. The verdict must be unanimous either in favor of the county or the plaintiffs, because it’s in federal court. If not, it will be a hung jury.

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