Vanessa Bryant has been sorting through a number of legal issues since her husband Kobe and daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash earlier this year, and one of them involves making another amendment to Kobe’s trust.
According to court documents obtained by TMZ, Vanessa is trying to amend Kobe’s trust to include the couple’s youngest daughter, Capri. The trust was created in 2003 and has been amended several times, most recently in 2017. The previous amendments appeared to come after each of Kobe’s and Vanessa’s first three daughters — Natalia, Gianna and Bianka — were born. However, Capri is just nine months old and the Bryants likely just had not gotten around to amending the trust again before Kobe died.
The way the trust is currently set up allows for Vanessa, Natalia and Bianka to draw from the principal and income during Vanessa’s lifetime, and the girls get the remainder of the money after Vanessa’s death. Vanessa wants to include Capri in the distribution, and a judge should have no problem signing off on the amendment.
Fortunately, this legal matter sounds like it will be easy for Vanessa to sort out. The same cannot be said for some of the other issues she could have while she continues to mourn the death of her husband and daughter.
Authorities in Los Angeles say they are looking into how sensitive photos from the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site were leaked to the public, and Vanessa Bryant has weighed in on the situation with a formal statement.
Vanessa Bryant’s legal team released a statement on her behalf Sunday blasting the Los Angeles Count Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department for the “inexcusable and deplorable” behavior of some of its deputies.
“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families,” the statement read. “We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated. We are requesting an Internal Affairs investigation of these alleged incidents.”
The Los Angeles Times first reported on Friday that deputies shared graphic photos — including some that showed remains — of the site where Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crashed. Officials became aware that the photos were shared just two days after the crash.
According to TMZ, one of the deputies showed the photos to a woman at a bar while trying to impress her. The bartender saw what happened and filed an online complaint with the Sheriff’s Department. The photos were also shared at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation, and deputies from other substations also reportedly took unauthorized photos on their cell phones.
Vanessa Bryant will unfortunately have to deal with a lot of legal trouble now in addition to losing her husband and 13-year-old daughter Gianna. She has already filed one lawsuit, and there could be more coming.
Vanessa Bryant was the first speaker at the memorial for her late husband Kobe and daughter, Gianna, at Staples Center on Monday in Los Angeles, and delivered incredible eulogies for them both.
Vanessa spoke for 22 minutes, first about daughter Gianna, and next about Kobe. She described each of their characters, talked about her fondest memories of them, and shared intimate details about each of them.
Here is video of her entire speech. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth your time:
Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999 when she was 17. They got married in 2001 and have been together ever since. They had four children — all daughters — Gianna being their second-oldest girl. Kobe was 41 and Gianna 13 when they died in a helicopter crash on January 26 that killed nine people.
Vanessa Bryant delivered an emotional speech at Monday’s memorial service for her late husband Kobe and daughter Gianna, and it was particularly gut-wrenching to hear her talk about the impact Gianna would have had on women’s basketball.
Vanessa spoke about what a great athlete and better person Gianna was, and she said the 13-year-old would often give pointers to the boys basketball coach and players at her school. Vanessa said Gianna even offered to teach them the famous triangle offense.
“At school she offered the boy’s basketball coaches to help give the boy’s basketball team some pointers. Like the triangle offense.”
One of the most important parts of Kobe’s legacy was the impact he made in the women’s basketball community. Gianna was, by all indications, as passionate about basketball as her dad, and Vanessa’s speech was a good illustration of that. We know how highly Kobe spoke of his daughter’s basketball ability, and the inability for Gianna to fulfill her potential is one of the many reasons last month’s helicopter crash was such a horrific tragedy.
An investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna last month is still ongoing, but Bryant’s wife Vanessa is apparently confident the tragedy could have been avoided if proper safety measures were taken.
According to a report from TMZ, Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter in which Kobe, Gianna and seven others were traveling when it crashed into the hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. The lawsuit claims that Island Express, the company that owned the chopper, was only authorized to fly under visual flight rules. The conditions the day of the fatal crash did not meet the standards of visual flight rules, meaning any pilot operating in them would be doing so under special visual flight rules, or special VFR.
The lawsuit states that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was traveling 180 mph in foggy conditions in a steep decline at the time of the crash. The documents also note that Zobayan was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility.
Vanessa Bryant is seeking punitive damages, claiming Zoboyan and Island Express were reckless. A specific dollar amount for the damages was not listed.
Kobe traveled with Zobayan frequently, and all indications are Zobayan was his most trusted pilot. Kawhi Leonard spoke highly of Zobayan after the crash and said he had flown with the pilot many times.
Vanessa Bryant on Wednesday posted her first message to Instagram since the tragic helicopter crash that killed her husband Kobe and 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
Bryant’s message included the most recent holiday photo of the family, which included their four daughters (Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri).
In her note, Vanessa thanks people for their support and says the family will need it. Her statement also gives attention to the other families affected by the tragedy. At the end, she shares how people who want to help can donate.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.
“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.
“I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever.
“Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality.
“To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org.
“To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org.
“Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family”
A report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said the Lakers were waiting for cues from Vanessa before acting. The team apparently wanted to work at Vanessa’s pace. Now that Vanessa has spoken, the team will likely share thoughts and statements on the matter.
More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:
Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Sunday that also killed seven other people. It’s impossible to imagine what Vanessa must be going through, and it’s certainly understandable that she has yet to issue a public statement.
Kobe and Gianna were on their way to the Mamba Academy with other members of the team and the players’ parents for a basketball tournament on Sunday. Kobe had traveled by helicopter frequently over the last decade or so, and his explanation for doing so is heartbreaking now looking back.
Vanessa and Kobe have three other daughters together — 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka and 7-month-old Capri.
Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were on a helicopter that crashed into the hills in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning, killing nine people. There was initial confusion about whether or not other members of Bryant’s family were aboard the helicopter and also died in the crash, but that has been cleared up.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported later Sunday that Bryant’s wife Vanessa, and daughters/sisters Natalia (17), Bianka (3) and Capri were NOT on the helicopter and are still alive.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant leave behind wife and mother Vanessa, and daughters and sisters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who was born last summer.
After initially saying Kobe was survived by his wife Vanessa and four daughters, TMZ later reported that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash. TMZ reported that Kobe and Gianna were on their way to Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later said Kobe and Gianna were on the helicopter, was well as another player and parent.
Sources: Kobe Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Those aboard the helicopter also included another player and parent.
Bryant was known for taking a helicopter as his method of transportation going from his home in Orange County to Staples Center in Los Angeles when he played. He was a 5-time NBA champion, 18-time All-Star, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, and NBA MVP. He is regarded as one of the greatest NBA players in history, as well as one of the most influential.