Vanessa Bryant is still in the midst of a legal battle stemming from the sudden deaths of her husband, Kobe Bryant, and their daughter, Gianna. Vanessa is suing Los Angeles County over photos that were taken and allegedly circulated by first responders at the site of the helicopter crash. The case has taken a few interesting turns thus far, with Bryant having experienced a few setbacks. Now, she’s made a new move, likely in an attempt to better her chances in court. According to a new report, Bryant has enlisted the services of an expert from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial.
Richard John Shaw, the forensic psychiatrist and Stanford University professor who testified during Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s case, has been recruited by Vanessa Bryant’s lawyers. Per Law & Crime, Bryant’s team filed notice earlier this week, and the hire comes just ahead of the trial’s jury selection, which is set to begin on August 10th. Shaw is reportedly set to testify as a rebuttal witness in this latest court case.
This latest development arrives as “emotional distress” and Instagram come into play in the lawsuit. As of late, LA County has argued to have the social media posts from Kobe Bryant’s widow included in the trial. The county’s legal team asserts that the photos Vanessa shared indicate that she is not experiencing the “emotional distress” that she’s claimed. According to Law & Crime, Bryant’s lawyers recently tried to exclude a testimony from psychiatrist and professor Mark A. Cohen. In his report, Cohen argued that he did not find evidence that Bryant “has been mentally harmed or emotionally damaged from crash-scene photographs of her late husband and daughter being shared.”
During Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s highly publicized case, Richard John Shaw served as a rebuttal expert for the former. Ultimately, the verdict fell in Depp’s favor, as the actor was awarded $8.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Shaw has already disputed Mark A. Cohen’s findings, arguing in a 21-page report that, “it is possible that a person could suffer significant distress and anxiety, potentially for the rest of his or her life, from learning that his or her loved ones’ mutilated remains were photographed by multiple first responders for personal use…”
The social media revelation is only one of the setbacks that Vanessa Bryant has faced amid this lawsuit. Earlier this month, the judge scolded Bryant’s legal team for presenting too much evidence in a pretrial hearing. Judge John Walter also took LA County to task for doing the same and told both groups that they needed to “get together and start getting these trial exhibits in some semblance of order.”
Amid the case of Kobe Bryant’s widow, a few other lawsuits have been filed as well. One comes from Christopher Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the helicopter crash and is also suing due to the photos. LA County has since argued that with the similarity of their cases, Chester cannot “ride [Vanessa] Bryant’s coattails.” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was also involved in a Bryant-related case, though that has now settled.
Vanessa Bryant’s trial is reportedly set to begin sometime in August. We’ll see whether the hiring of Richard Jon Shaw will work in Bryant’s favor.
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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.