He said he didn’t regret taking photos of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other individuals who were assigned to the crash site of Kobe Bryant’s headless body at the helicopter crash site in Los Angeles County in 2020.
On the third day of the trial, Doug Johnson, the widower’s attorney, arrived in Vanessa Bryant’s NBA courtroom, dressed in a stylish black suit and carrying a sleek black phone and a bottle of water, ready to support his client in the federal lawsuit against the county.
During that period, he asserted that he was unaware of the identities of the deceased individuals, particularly those who were well-known. Johnson is accused of capturing approximately 100 images of the crime scene, which encompassed a photograph of an African American male without a head, believed to be Kobe Bryant.
On Friday, a retired police officer testified that the county had a record of maintaining ‘ghoul books’ containing explicit photographs of deceased celebrities.
Versales Raul, the deputy who was stationed at the bottom of the hill where the crash happened in Calabasas, stated that he fired three close-range shots.
Versales has denied asking for the pictures, stating: ‘All of us at the control center, including me, did not request photographs.’
Johnson’s pictures were captured on a mobile phone and shared through text messaging.
‘No, sir,’ he replied, as reported by the New York Post, when questioned about whether he believed capturing the images on a private mobile device was unsuitable.
Vanessa is taking legal action against the county for ’emotional distress,’ stating that Johnson’s photos, which were circulated in a bar by fellow deputies who were bragging about possessing ‘souvenir’ pictures of Kobe’s body, exacerbated her already traumatic experience of losing Kobe and Gianna.
Deputy Johnson testified on Friday that he hiked up the hillside to the crash site around 11:30 am in January 2020, where he discovered various body parts scattered everywhere.
When he arrived at the top of the hill, the deputy, who was assigned to take photos, informed officials – presumed to be from LA County Fire.
When questioned about whether he had understood the task as capturing close-up photographs of individuals, he informed the court, ‘Yes, sir.’
Additionally, he mentioned that upon supposedly encountering the professional basketball player, all he witnessed was a limbless figure, clad in pants.
‘I can’t recall witnessing the victim’s head,’ he stated on Friday, as reported by the New York Post.
He also purportedly captured images of corpses in the gorge, which presumably encompassed Gianna’s.
Vanessa is pursuing compensation for violation of her privacy due to the dissemination of the explicit images.
In January 2020, Bryant, his daughter, and seven additional individuals perished at the location of the helicopter accident in Calabasas, where the photographs were captured by law enforcement officers and firefighters.
Vanessa’s lawyer, Luis Li, stated in documents filed in January 2022 that evidence indicates the close-up photographs of Gianna and Kobe’s remains were circulated among a minimum of 28 devices belonging to the sheriff’s department and shared by at least twelve firefighters. Additionally, these photos were exhibited in bars and at an awards gala.
Li is alleged to have engaged in a cover-up, destroying direct forensic evidence and requiring extensive circumstantial evidence to establish the full extent of the misconduct by Los Angeles County officials.
The patron filed a complaint with the LA County Sheriff’s Office stating that a bartender had just shown him photos of an incident in which an officer had told him that a patron had been seen or posted online, but the photos were not previously defended by the Los Angeles County itself.
Consequently, Vanessa experienced feelings of sadness and insomnia, previously expressing that the images depicting the demise of her spouse and child were ‘publicly available,’ leading to her enduring ‘persistent dread and unease.’
Although those threats have not yet come to fruition, she added that she has been contacted by internet creeps who will share online disturbing photos.
Vanessa also mentioned that she has seen a photo of her late husband’s body, which sickens her when she types his name into Google and a search suggestion pops up to “see Kobe Bryant’s body.” In addition, six members of the couple’s family and friends also died in the helicopter crash.
Upon discovering that there were no individuals who survived, she requested Sheriff Alex Villanueva on January 26, 2020, the day of the accident, to ensure the crash location was safeguarded and prevent anyone from capturing images. According to records reviewed by TMZ, Bryant explains the circumstances under which she was compelled to describe her unease in a statement submitted to LA County.
Sharing images of the remains of Kobe and Gianna, which were captured, came to the attention of Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters. However, only a month later, she.
In the previous month, Vanessa also brought attention to another controversy concerning Johnson, in which he purportedly knelt on a prisoner’s neck.
In retaliation, attorneys for the county have requested a judge to prevent Bryant from informing the jurors, as per TMZ’s report.
The Sheriff’s Department unsuccessfully attempted to conceal the kneeling incident, but a video was leaked to Knock LA.
On Friday, the county submitted paperwork stating that the distinct circumstance is ‘completely unconnected’ to the Bryant case.
It is believed that notifying the jurors could have a significant impact on the course of the upcoming trial.