Photos of Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s remains ‘shown off in bars and at an awards gala,’ lawsuit says

In this file photo, former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the U.S. national championships swimming meet in Irvine, Calif. (Chris Carlson/AP)

Close-up photos of Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna, and others killed in a 2020 helicopter crash were widely shared by authorities, including at special events, lawyers for Vanessa Bryant allege.

“Discovery has shown that the close-up photos of Gianna and Kobe’s remains were passed around on at least twenty-eight Sheriff’s Department devices and by at least a dozen firefighters, and shown off in bars and at an awards gala,” according to a filing from Vanessa Bryant’s lawyers filed Thursday, CNN reports. “It has also shown that Defendants engaged in a cover up, destroying the direct forensic evidence of their misconduct and requiring extensive circumstantial evidence to establish the full extent of that misconduct,” according to Bryant’s lawyers.

The filing comes weeks before the lawsuit, filed in federal court, is set to go to trial on Feb. 22, and days before the second anniversary of the Jan. 26, 2020 helicopter crash that killed the NBA great and Gianna, 13, as well as Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli; Payton Chester and Sarah Chester; Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.

Vanessa Bryant in September 2020 filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County claiming civil rights violations, negligence, emotional distress and violation of privacy, according to the outlet.

Vanessa Bryant’s mother in December 2020 filed a breach of contract suit against her daughter and Kobe’s estate, claiming the late basketball superstar “promised” her a lifetime of support. Vanessa used prior testimony from her mother — in which Sofia Urbieta denied being supported by the couple — to contradict the suit.

Vanessa at the time accused her mother of trying to “extort a financial windfall from our family,” noting that her late husband “would be so disappointed in her behavior and lack of empathy.”

Bryant last June also settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against Island Express Helicopters in relation to the crash, for which the settlement terms were not revealed.