During Kobe Bryant Photo Trial, Fire Captain Leaves Stand While Testifying That Crash Site Will ‘Haunt’ Him Forever

Kobe Bryant on The Corp
(Image credit: The Corp)

Vanessa Bryant is still in the courtroom, as her case against Los Angeles County progresses. Bryant is suing the county for negligence and invasion of privacy over photos of her husband and daughter’s helicopter crash site, which were apparently taken and distributed by first responders. So far, there have been several testimonies during the trial, with one of the latest coming from a former fire captain. And per reports, the man left the stand a number of times and testified that the crash site would “haunt” him forever. 

Former captain Brian Jordan took to the stand on Monday, during which he was cross-examined by one of Vanessa Bryant’s lawyers about whether he took photos at the crash site. However, Jordan reportedly hesitated to answer certain questions and became uncomfortable while thinking back to the day Kobe Bryant died. According to CNN, he left the witness stand three times while being questioned. In one instance, he left after being asked if Bryant’s remains were captured in the photos. Faced with that, Jordan reportedly said, “I need a break, I need a break” before standing up and apologizing to the judge. 

During the trial, Brian Jordan, who retired in 2021, said that he didn’t recall taking photos due to having blocked out the memories. Though he would later say that a supervisor asked him to take photos at the site. In the midst of questioning, Jordan also claimed that the only reason he was present at the trial was because “someone threw my name into this whole thing.” Despite his apparent trepidation when it came to answering the queries, he did make a sobering statement about the situation: 

The way the whole scene looked, that's going to haunt me forever, and excuse me cause I'm about to take another break.

During those breaks, the man was accompanied by his lawyer, Steven Haney, who provided an alleged reason for them. Haney asserted that his client’s exits were due to “a medical condition associated with his viewing of the crash scene,” and it reportedly still causes him “trauma.” 

Aside from the retired fire captain, sheriff’s deputy Doug Johnson also testified during the case. Johnson was questioned about taking and sharing photos from the Calabasas crash site and stated his belief that he “didn’t do anything wrong.” He said that it was “common practice” to take photos and share them with fellow officials and claimed that he deleted said pictures from his phone later that day. 

The Kobe Bryant case also included testimony from a bartender, who denied claims that he laughed when being shown photos of the crash site. The person who apparently showed him the pics, L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Joey Cruz, has since taken the stand as well, saying that bar employee was a friend he could “vent” to. Cruz is expected to return to the stand today.

Vanessa Bryant is seeking millions of dollars in her suit, also claiming that she’s experienced emotional distress due to the taking and distribution of the photos. Taunting social media messages involving Kobe have also been brought into the case but in a limited capacity. Meanwhile, Christopher Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, is also suing L.A. county on the same grounds as Bryant. However, it’s been argued that the two cases cannot be consolidated, as it would allow Chester to ride her “coattails.”

It goes without saying that this court case has been emotionally draining for those involved. Further updates on Vanessa Bryant's case will likely arrive soon.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.