BOGOTA, Colombia – A jury awarded Vanessa Bryant and co-plaintiff Chris Chester a combined USD31 million in damages after finding the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Fire Departments liable for sharing graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed NBA star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

Bryant was awarded USD16 million in damages and Chester, whose wife Sarah and daughter Payton were also among those killed in the crash, was awarded USD15 million.

Bryant said during the 11-day trial that the photos brought her emotional distress because she feared they could become public. The photos were not shared on social media but were seen by employees of the LA County Sheriff’s and fire departments.

"I live in fear every day of being on social media and these popping up," Bryant testified. "I live in fear of my daughters being on social media and these popping up," she said.

"I don't ever want to see these photographs," she said. "I want to remember my husband and my daughter the way they were."

Attorney J. Mira Hashmall, who led the counsel for LA County, said during the trial that the photos had never appeared publicly and had never even been seen by the plaintiffs.

However, after five hours of deliberation, the nine jurors unanimously agreed with Bryant that the photos of the remains of Kobe Bryant and their daughter invaded her privacy.

After leaving the courthouse, Bryant posted a picture of her husband and Gianna on social media with the caption: "All for you! I love you! JUSTICE for Kobe and Gigi!"

Kobe Bryant, considered one of the greatest players in basketball history, was traveling with Gianna and seven others to a youth basketball game when the helicopter they were aboard crashed into hills in Calabasas, California. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error for the crash that took the life of the sports legend in January 2020. (Anadolu)