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On what would have been Kobe Bryant’s 44th birthday, his wife, Vanessa Bryant, was in court fighting for justice on behalf of him and his daughter more than two years after their tragic deaths.

Vanessa Bryant arrives at U.S. Federal Courthouse.

Source: Irfan Khan / Getty

The widow of the late Lakers legend was accompanied by friends Ciara and Monica, plus 19-year-old daughter Natalia, at her trial over the graphic leaked images of Kobe, their daughter Gianna, and the seven other victims of the fatal January 2020 helicopter crash. Her support group was sitting behind her during testimony from an internal officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, accompanying her outside when she needed to take a moment on the difficult day, as seen in photos obtained by PEOPLE.

Tuesday, August 23 marked the 10th day of Vanessa Bryant’s civil trial against Los Angeles County, the final day of testimony after hearing from dozens of witnesses. According to reports from USA Today, it was also the first day of closing arguments and the first time an attorney in the case put a dollar amount on what he thinks the jury should award Bryant and Chris Chester, her fellow plaintiff at this trial: $75 million.

Jerome Jackson, Chester’s attorney, asked for up to $2.5 million each for their past 2.5 years of emotional distress, plus up to $1 million for each year of their future distress – 40 years for Bryant and 30 for Chester.

“When I reach this point of closing arguments, I’m usually anxious about not asking for too much,” Jackson told the jury in closing arguments. “I don’t have that anxiety today, because I will tell you ladies and gentlemen, you can’t award too much money for what they went through. You can’t stack it too high. You can’t spread it too wide. What they went through is inhuman and inhumane.”

Both Bryant and Chester brought this case to trial after suing the Los Angeles County in 2020, just a few months after they each lost their spouses and daughters in a helicopter crash. Following the tragedy, both of them accused county sheriffs and fire department employees of using their personal phones to take graphic photos of their deceased loved ones.

While the county insists the photos never were posted online and were deleted shortly after the crash, Bryant and Chester say they live in fear of the photos resurfacing, saying there’s no way to be sure if they still exist somewhere.
After closing arguments resume on Wednesday morning, the jury will have to make their decision.


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