LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — Los Angeles County is trying to force Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in her lawsuit over leaked photos of a helicopter plane crash that took her husband’s and daughter’s lives.
Bryant says her family’s privacy was violated after sheriff’s deputies shared pictures from the crash site where her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others died in January 2020. Families of the other victims have joined Bryant’s lawsuit. The lawsuit is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A motion filed in federal court on Friday requests that Bryant and the families of the other victims undergo independent psychological exams. The county argues that the “emotional distress” the families are going through is not from the photos, but from the crash itself.
“(Vanessa and the other plaintiffs) cannot claim that they are suffering from ongoing depression, anxiety and severe emotional distress and then balk at having to support their claims,” the county said in court documents.
The plaintiffs also claim that the county is refusing to make Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby available for deposition.
Bryant’s legal team has criticized the request, calling it “bullying.” Attorneys for the families said the county could have used a “less intrusive” method to measure their emotional distress rather than involuntary psychiatric exams.
A judge is set to rule on the motion on Nov. 5. The trial is expected to begin in February.