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Emotional Vanessa Bryant testifies in civil suit against LA County over death photos

Vanessa Byrant, pictured in 2020, got emotional in the courtroom Friday as the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant took the stand in a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County over photos taken at the crash site where her husband died. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4ca3e09c15e7eaf0ef1e1ccde09d34eb/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Vanessa Byrant, pictured in 2020, got emotional in the courtroom Friday as the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant took the stand in a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County over photos taken at the crash site where her husband died. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Vanessa Byrant got emotional in the courtroom Friday, as the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant took the stand in a federal lawsuit against Los Angeles County over photos taken at the crash site where her late husband died.

Bryant cried while detailing how she felt after first learning that emergency responders had taken and then leaked photos from the site where her husband and teenage daughter were found following a helicopter crash in 2020.

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Several law enforcement officers have already testified in the civil suit so far but Friday marked Vanessa Byrant's first appearance on the stand.

"I felt like I wanted to run down the block and scream. I can't escape my body. I can't escape what I feel," she testified.

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"I don't ever want to see these photographs. I want to remember them as they were."

Earlier in the trial, one deputy testified he showed graphic images from the scene while at a bar and another said he shared photos while playing a video game. A third deputy testified he sent dozens of photos to people he didn't know.

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Vanessa Bryant filed the suit, along with Chris Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash. The two contend the photos amount to an invasion of privacy on the part of the county and cause emotional distress because they show victims bodies in addition to the destroyed helicopter.

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On Thursday, Chester told the court that he lives in fear the graphic photos will resurface in the public one day.

Bryant echoed those sentiments while testifying Friday.

"I live in fear every day of seeing on social media and having these images pop up," she told the court.

The crash in Calabasas, Calif., killed all nine people on board, including the former NBA superstar and the couple's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The helicopter was headed to a girls basketball game at Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., when it crashed.

Vanessa Bryant and others settled a wrongful death suit last year against the company that owned the helicopter.

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