- A court case brought by Vanessa Bryant is set to begin on Wednesday over graphic photos shared after her husband and daughter's death
- The widow of late basketball star, Kobe Bryant, has accused first responders at the site of the helicopter crash that killed him of distributing the graphic images.
- Bryant who learnt of her husband and daughter's death on social media alleges she suffered emotional distress.
A court case brought by Kobe Bryant's widow over graphic photographs taken by first responders at the site of the helicopter crash that killed him was set to begin in the United States on Wednesday.
The basketball superstar and his teenage daughter were among nine people who died when their chopper smashed into a hillside near Los Angeles in January 2020.
Vanessa Bryant alleges she suffered emotional distress because personnel from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and local firefighters snapped pictures of the scene, which they later shared with friends and first responders.
Bryant's attorneys wrote in court papers:
"In the following weeks, one (sheriff's) deputy flaunted photos of remains at a bar, another texted photos to a group of video game buddies, and (county fire) personnel displayed photos at an awards gala."
Lawyers for Los Angeles County do not dispute that the photos were taken, but insist they have never been made public and have in any case been deleted now.
Mira Hashmall, representing the county in the civil litigation, said the case hinged on this issue of public dissemination.
"Over two and a half years later, no county photos have appeared in the media, none can be found online, and the plaintiffs admit they've never seen them."
Vanessa Bryant's case has been combined with a similar case brought by Chris Chester, whose wife and 13-year-old daughter also died in the crash.
A jury of 10 people was set to be empanelled.
Relatives of several other victims were last year granted $2.5 million in compensation over the photo-taking.
An investigation into the crash found the pilot had probably become disorientated after flying the Sikorsky S-76 into fog.
Bryant is widely recognised as one of the greatest basketball players ever, a figure who became the face of his sport during a glittering two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He was a five-time NBA champion in a career that began in 1996 straight out of high school and lasted until his retirement in 2016, after which he began building a lucrative business portfolio.
He was also a two-time Olympic gold medalist, helping spark the US squad of NBA stars to titles in 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London.