Why The Judge In Lawsuit Over Kobe Bryant Crash Photos Scolded Vanessa's Legal Team

screenshot kobe bryant's muse doc
(Image credit: Showtime)

It’s been more than two years since the death of Kobe Bryant and the eight other passengers who were aboard his fatal helicopter flight, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. As wife and mother to the deceased, Vanessa Bryant will understandably never be able to forget what happened – and she’s not letting others, either. To this day, she is still seeking justice in a high-profile lawsuit against the first responders who allegedly took and circulated photos of the crash site. However, the judge presiding over the case apparently had cause to scold Vanessa’s legal team of late in the sensitive matter.

Los Angeles County itself and its sheriff, fire departments and supposed officers involved, were all named in the suit leveled by the late basketball player’s widow. The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 significantly delayed the trial date but, according to reporting by Insider, it’s hit a different snag altogether in recent months. Evidently, California District Judge John Walter criticized both sides for presenting too much evidence during a pre-trial hearing. He said:

This has been going on since February and all I get is a document that is a couple hundred pages and is not very helpful. You need to get together and start getting these trial exhibits in some semblance of order.

The judge continued that it would be a “never-ending battle” if Vanessa Bryant’s team and the defense didn’t whittle down the excessive documents to those of most import. A representative for L.A. County made a statement to the outlet that they are complying with the judge’s orders.

Kobe Bryant’s wife is specifically suing the state of California for the alleged crash site images causing emotional distress and being an invasion of privacy. But on the federal side, she invokes the constitutional right to images of deceased loved ones being hers alone, which was reportedly violated when the view of the crash site was disseminated without her consent after the fact. As a result, the judge stated that the competing legal jurisdictions here means that the trial will be split into two, with allegations against the state being addressed first. The proceedings will tentatively take place in August.

After Vanessa Bryant, the death of the NBA legend hit the sports world the hardest back in 2020, with homage given in one episode of ESPN’s The Last Dance (now streaming with a Netflix subscription). But fans and celebs alike would eventually open up about what Kobe Bryant meant to them. For instance, touching tributes were paid to him by Jimmy Fallon, Jemele Hill and more on the first anniversary of his death last year.

His memory continues to endure elsewhere, most notably through Vanessa Bryant. She shared an emotional story related to him and The Notebook’s iconic blue dress only a month after his passing. She also posted a heartbreaking message on what would’ve been Kobe’s 42nd birthday last August.

More details on the lawsuit are sure to surface in the coming weeks. In the meantime, viewers can still check out the five documentaries and specials about Kobe Bryant that are out on streaming platforms now.

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.