Kobe Bryant helicopter crash: Former fire captain repeatedly left the witness box during testimony


Citing work-related stress over the crash, Brian Jordan resisted questions that brought him back to his actions that day, when attorneys for Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, claimed he was driven by a sheriff’s deputy to take photos of the scene, including wreckage from the crash and the remains of the victims.

“Kobe Bryant’s body was part of the photos?” asked Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, before being cut off by Jordan.

“I need a break, I need a break,” Jordan said as he stood up. “Sorry your honor,” he said as he left the stand for the first of three times.

At one point, Li noted in questioning that Jordan dated his lawyer every time.

Steven Haney, Jordan’s attorney, told CNN that his client’s departures from the courtroom were not about legal issues, but a reaction to “a medical condition associated with his view of the scene of the accident and which causes him trauma”.

Jordan has repeatedly said he doesn’t remember taking any photos because he’s stuck that day in his memory since retiring in early 2021.

Later, when asked by another attorney for the plaintiff if he had taken pictures of specific body parts, Jordan said, “The way the whole scene looked like, that’s going to haunt me forever, and excuse me. because I’m about to take another break.”

At times, Jordan dismissed pointed questions from lawyers about exactly what he photographed that day and why.

“The only reason I’m sitting here is because someone threw my name into this whole thing,” Jordan said on the witness stand. He says a supervisor asked him to take photos of the site as part of the firefighters’ response to the crash.

“Maybe that was the day I should have been insubordinate,” Jordan said defiantly.

At one point, Haney, Jordan’s attorney who is not one of the attorneys representing defendant Los Angeles County, stood near the courtroom gallery to a question posed by the complainants, saying “asked and answered”. When the judge realized who was objecting, he ordered Haney to object no more.

Vanessa Bryant’s federal civil lawsuit alleges the county invaded her privacy and failed to fully contain the spread of the photos, causing her to live in fear that the photos could surface online at any time.

LA County argues that the photos were part of necessary photography of the crash site and sufficiently contained their spread, arguing that the photos never surfaced online.

The testimony continued with a series of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who received and shared the sensitive photos among themselves, one of whom was a trainee who showed the photos to a bartender he believed to be a friend.

“In hindsight, do you think there was a reason you were receiving these accident photos?” Asked plaintiff’s attorney Craig Lavoie.

“Looking back on it today, no.” Deputy Joey Cruz said, though he maintained he initially accepted them, thinking he might have been tasked later to write a report on the incident.

Regarding the bartender, Cruz added, “He’s a close friend that I let off steam with…I went too far, something I shouldn’t have done.”

Cruz is scheduled to return to the witness stand on Tuesday.


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