Kobe Bryant’s widow can now obtain the names of the four Los Angeles County Sheriff Department (LASD) deputies who allegedly shared pictures from the scene of the helicopter crash that killed the NBA legend and their daughter.
The accident occurred on January 26, 2020, when a helicopter carrying basketball icon Bryant, 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people crashed near Calabasas.
Family members gathered at the scene several hours after the crash, having been assured the site had been secured before unauthorized photos were said to have been leaked to the press, leading to an inflow of fans to the area.
Bryant has repeatedly called for the release of the names of the deputies responsible for the alleged leak, arguing that they must be held “accountable for their actions.”
“The Sheriff’s Department wants to redact the names of the deputies that took and/or shared photos of my husband, daughter, and other victims,” Bryant wrote in a statement posted on Instagram.
“Anyone else facing allegations would be unprotected, named, and released to the public. These specific deputies need to be held accountable for their actions just like everyone else.”
Attorneys for the LASD and Los Angeles County wanted to keep the accused deputies’ names private, insisting that “hackers may attempt to seek out and gain access to the individual deputies’ devices to locate any photographs and publish them.”
But US District Judge John F Walter said in a ruling on Monday that their claims were “totally inconsistent with their position that such photographs no longer exist.”
Prior to the court’s ruling, it was claimed that all photos in the deputies’ possession had been deleted.
Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, hailed the judge’s decision as the right one, concluding that “transparency promotes accountability.” “We look forward to presenting Mrs. Bryant’s case in open court,” he added.