A jury in a multi-million dollar civil case brought by Kobe Bryant's widow over graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed the basketball star was to consider its verdict Wednesday.
Sheriff's deputies and firefighters who rushed to the scene of the January 2020 smash snapped pictures of the carnage, including the mangled remains of the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter.
A civil trial in Los Angeles has heard how some of these first responders showed the photographs to members of the public -- including a bartender -- while one deputy texted them to a friend as the pair played video games.
In its defense Los Angeles County says the pictures have never become public and officials have been diligent in efforts to scrub them from devices.
But a two-week trial has heard how Vanessa Bryant and Chris Chester, whose wife and daughter also perished in the crash, live in fear of these photographs surfacing on the internet one day.
Chester's lawyer on Tuesday said the jury should award each of them a million dollars for every year of their expected life -- a figure that would amount to $40 million for 40-year-old Bryant and $30 million for 48-year-old Chester.
Attorney Jerry Jackson called the figure "a fair and reasonable compensation. You can't award too much money for what they went through."
Bryant's lawyer Craig Lavoie said he was asking for "justice and accountability" for the basketball great -- a hero to the city of Los Angeles -- and his widow.
"We're here because of intentional conduct -- the county violated Mrs Bryant and Mr Chester's constitutional rights," Lavoie said, asking the jury to hold the county liable for "the constitutional violations of its employees."
Closing arguments concluded Wednesday, with the jury expected to retire thereafter.
Relatives of 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 recognized 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.
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