Los Angeles (CNN) — A former Los Angeles County fire captain left the witness stand three times during Monday’s testimony while being asked if he took photos of Kobe Bryant’s remains in the 2020 helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his daughter. Gianna, 13, and seven other people.
Citing the stress of working on the accident, Brian Jordan resisted questions that led him back to his actions that day, when attorneys for Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa claimed a sheriff’s deputy guided him to take pictures. from the scene of the accident, including the remains of the victims.
“Were Kobe Bryant’s remains among the photos?” asked Bryant’s attorney, Luis Li, before being interrupted by Jordan.
“I need a break, I need a break,” Jordan said as he got to his feet. “I’m sorry, your honor,” she said as she walked off the dais for the first of three times.
At one point, Li noted under questioning that Jordan dated his lawyer every time.
Steven Haney, Jordan’s attorney, told CNN that his client’s departure from the courtroom was not due to legal issues, but rather in reaction to “a medical condition associated with his viewing of the scene of the accident and that It causes trauma.”
Jordan repeatedly said that he did not remember taking pictures because he has blocked that day from his memory since his retirement in early 2021.
Later, when Jordan was asked by another plaintiff’s attorney if he took photos of specific parts of Kobe Bryant’s body, Jordan said, “The way the whole scene looked, that’s going to haunt me forever, and I’m sorry I’m about to take another break.”
At times, Jordan rebuffed direct questions from attorneys about what exactly he photographed that day and why.
“The only reason I’m sitting here is because someone got my name into all of this,” Jordan said on the witness stand. He said a supervisor asked him to take pictures of the site as part of the fire department’s response to the accident.
“Maybe that was the day he should have been insubordinate,” Jordan said defiantly.
At one point, Haney, Jordan’s attorney who is not one of the attorneys representing the defendant in Los Angeles County, objected from near the courtroom gallery to a question asked by the plaintiffs, saying “question and reply”. When the judge realized who was making the objection, he ordered Haney to make no further objections.
Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit over Kobe photos
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 fear the images could appear online at any time.
Los Angeles County maintains that the photos were part of the necessary crash site photography and that it contained sufficient disclosure, arguing that the photos have never appeared online.
The testimony continued with a series of Los Angeles County officers receiving and sharing sensitive photos with each other, one of whom was a trainee who showed the photos to a bartender he considered a friend.
“Looking back, do you think there was any reason for you to receive these photos of the accident?” plaintiff attorney Craig Lavoie asked.
“Looking back today, no,” Deputy Sheriff Joey Cruz said, though he said he initially accepted them thinking he might later have been tasked with writing a report on the incident.
About the bartender, Cruz added: “He is a close friend with whom I vent… I took myself too far, something I should not have done.”
Cruz will return to the witness stand on Tuesday.