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LA County Requests Vanessa Bryant Undergo Psychiatric Exam Before Trial

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Los Angeles County attorneys have asked a federal judge to order Vanessa Bryant, widow of former-NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, to undergo a psychiatric exam heading into her lawsuit against the county.

This involuntary examination on Bryant's part, would be administered over the course of eight hours, where a psychiatrist would evaluate her trauma. Bryant's legal team offered a return to this suggestion, stating that the motion is unreasonable.

Bryant filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit with LA County late last year for an undisclosed amount. The lawsuit claims that county sheriff's deputies shared photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, their daughter Gianna, and seven others in January 2020.

Along with the county, Bryant is also suing the LA County Sheriff's Department and the LA County Fire Department in the lawsuit, as well as four deputies who shared images from their personal cell phones at the site of the crash. Bryant is seeking additional damages for negligence and emotional distress from the accident. Other claims in the lawsuit allege that a specific deputy took between 25 to 100 photos of the scene to show other government personnel and friends.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva had initially promised Bryant privacy after the incident occurred. Excerpts from the lawsuit claim that 66 county employees have "relevant knowledge, and documents have revealed that at least 18 agents or employees of the Sheriff's Department and Fire Department took, shared, or possessed improper photos of the accident scene where Mrs. Bryant's loved ones tragically perished."

The motion was filed on Friday, where the county attorneys argued that mental health evaluations should be required to determine whether the emotional distress that Bryant suffered was from the photo leaks or the helicopter crash itself.

In the motion, county attorneys argue that Bryant "cannot be suffering distress from accident site photos that they have never seen and that were never publicly disseminated.''

Upon last year's initial filing of the lawsuit, county lawyers responded by stating that her claims will not stand in court:

"This straightforward case, with undisputed facts, has turned into a fishing expedition that is taking first responders away from their job -- and subject them to public harassment and threats,'' county lawyers wrote. "Defendants are eager to have their day in court and put an end to this.''

The motion filed on Monday is set to be discussed in Los Angeles Federal Court on November 5, with the trial dates expected sometime in 2022.

As of now, the Bryant's lawyer, Luis Li, has not been available for comment.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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