News & Politics

Kobe Bryant's Widow Made Big News Before the NBA Star's Public Memorial Service

Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna watch the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Connecticut and Houston, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

On the day of the public memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and six other friends in a Southern California helicopter crash, Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, made a startling announcement.

The crowds were converging on the Staples Center for Kobe’s sold-out memorial (with proceeds going to charity), which featured Jimmy Kimmel and Michael Jordan and singer Christina Aguilera singing “Ave Maria,” when news broke that Vanessa Bryant was filing a wrongful death suit:

It was odd timing that Vanessa Bryant and her attorneys would wait until the public outpouring of sympathy for her husband and daughter to announce she was bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. She has two years from the January 26 crash to bring a lawsuit.

The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit targets the helicopter company and the estate of the pilot who was cleared to fly in the fog by air traffic controllers:

The lawsuit names Island Express Helicopters Inc., operator of the service, and Island Express Holding Corp., owner of the craft. It also targets pilot Ara Zobayan’s representative or successor, listed only as “Doe 1” until a name can be determined.

…The lawsuit asserts Zobayan was negligent in eight different ways, including failing to properly assess the weather, flying into conditions he wasn’t cleared for and failing to control the helicopter.

Vanessa Bryant has already created a special fund to help all the victims of the crash, among them some close friends.

Los Angeles and Orange counties have paid tribute to the star with murals and memorials.