(CNN) — Photos taken at the scene of the fatal helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were shared by a Los Angeles County firefighter during cocktail hour at a ceremony prizes a month after the accident, according to the testimony of a witness.

Trial began Wednesday in a federal civil lawsuit filed by Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, who claims photos of the January 2020 crash were shared by fire department and county sheriff employees in settings irrelevant to the investigation. investigation, even in a bar.

Former EMT and wife of a Los Angeles firefighter, Luella Weireter, testified in court Friday that during the Southern California Radio and Television News Association’s Golden Mike Awards in February 2020, she saw the Los Angeles County Firefighter Tony Imbrenda sharing photos of Bryant’s remains and other images from the crash site with those attending the ceremony.

Many firefighters attended the media event, which was also honoring the fire department’s public information officers for their work in informing the public about wildfires.

After a small group of people gathered at his table to look at the footage on a cell phone, in what Weireter characterized as a party trick, he reported seeing a firefighter break away from the group, saying, “I can’t believe I just seeing Kobe’s burned body and now I’m about to eat.

kobe ​​bryant photos

Photos from the scene of Kobe Bryant’s crash were shared during Los Angeles County Firefighters at the scene of the helicopter crash where Kobe Bryant died in Calabasas, California, the United States, January 26, 2020.

Following that comment, Vanessa Bryant could be seen in the room with her head in her hands, rocking back and forth, crying.

Weireter is the cousin of Keri Altobelli, who, along with her husband John and daughter Alyssa, also perished in the helicopter crash.

About two weeks after the awards ceremony, Weireter went to a county fire station in Malibu and filed an official complaint with a squad leader, he said. That same day, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Anthony Marrone called her to follow up.

On Thursday afternoon, Vanessa Bryant left court during testimony describing photos taken at the scene of the crash. Bryant’s widow became emotional when Víctor Gutiérrez, a waiter for her, was asked if she had seen the body of her daughter, Gianna Bryant, in the images. Gutierrez had described what he had seen in photos shown by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy at a bar on an earlier date.

Bryant wept, stood up, and his attorney asked the presiding judge for permission for Bryant to leave the courtroom.

Bryant did not return for the rest of Gutierrez’s testimony, which continued with a series of surveillance clips from the bar where he worked on Jan. 28, 2020, two days after the accident and a month before the awards show. Gutiérrez described the gestures of pain when seeing the photos and later admitted to having told about the state of the victims’ bodies to five groups of people.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks and witnesses are likely to include Vanessa Bryant and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The lawsuit, which was filed in September 2020, seeks undisclosed damages and alleges violations of civil rights, negligence, emotional distress, and violation of privacy.

A jury of six women and four men was selected for the case. They include a nun, a television production worker for NBC Universal, a college student, a real estate investor, a pharmaceutical researcher, a computer science professor, and a restaurant host.

— CNN’s Jason Kravarik, Natasha Chen, Amir Vera and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed reporting.



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