Vanessa Bryant Reaches Final $28.5 Million Settlement in Lawsuit Over Helicopter Crash Photos

Vanessa Bryant was originally awarded $15 million back in August after a jury found that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Fire Department shared photos from the deadly helicopter crash site

Vanessa Bryant arrives at Federal Court to testify Friday in the lawsuit over graphic photos taken by first responders at the scene of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, their teenage daughter and seven others. Bryant photographed at her arrival at U.S. Federal Courthouse on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.
Vanessa Bryant arrives at Federal Court to testify Friday . Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty

Vanessa Bryant has reached a final settlement with Los Angeles County over the leaked photos from the helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe Bryant and their daughter Gianna Bryant.

Vanessa, 40, agreed to a $28.85 million payout from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in the ongoing lawsuit

The agreement includes claims from Vanessa and covers any future claims from her and Kobe's daughters Natalia, 20, Bianka, 6, and Capri, 3.

The settlement is still "conditional upon court approval" for the minor children. All those involved will pay for their own legal fees.

"Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant's courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct," Bryant's lawyer Luis Li said in a statement to PEOPLE.

"She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect. We hope her victory at trial and this settlement will put an end to this practice."

Mira Hashmall, partner at the Miller Barondess law firm and lead trial counsel for LA County in the case called the settlement "fair and reasonable."

"This settlement now concludes all County-related litigation related to the tragic January 2020 helicopter crash. We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss," she said in a statement provided to PEOPLE.

The settlement amount includes the $15 million that Vanessa was awarded back in August. It was initially $16 million but was reduced after a clerical error was discovered.

In August, the jury found the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) and Fire Department (LAFD) did share photos of the bodies of Vanessa and her co-plaintiff Chris Chester's loved ones and in doing so invaded their privacy and caused emotional distress.

Chris previously agreed to a $19.95 million settlement.

Vanessa and Chris, who tragically lost his wife Sarah and their 13-year-old daughter Payton in the crash, sued Los Angeles County for emotional distress and mental anguish after learning members of the department had shared photos of the victims' remains. At the time of the crash, Kobe and Gianna were traveling to a youth basketball game with seven others.

Chris and Vanessa claimed photographs of the victims' bodies were publicly shared on at least 28 devices owned by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and by more than a dozen first responders.

RELATED VIDEO: Vanessa Bryant Awarded $16M After Jury Reaches Verdict in Trial Over Helicopter Crash Site Photos

The photo-sharing allegations amongst the first responders came to light in a 2020 article in the Los Angeles Times which revealed one first responder had shown the photos at a bar.

"I trusted them not to do these things," the bereaved mother said during her testimony, adding that she was angry with the sheriff and fire departments for not telling her about the pictures being shared.

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Kobe's body was recovered on the day of the crash, while Gianna — a basketball player with the Mamba Sports Academy with dreams of playing in the WNBA — was found a day later in a ravine.

In a moment that saw a wave of emotion wash across those in the courtroom, Vanessa accused emergency personnel who allegedly photographed and shared images showing Gianna's body of "taking advantage that her daddy wasn't there to protect her."

"He was at the morgue," she said.

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