LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A federal judge ruled Monday that Vanessa Bryant can obtain the names of four Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies accused of sharing “unauthorized” crash site photos.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter rejected the effort of L.A. County lawyers to keep the deputies’ names under seal in the lawsuit. The lawyers argued that releasing the deputies’ names could make them the target of hackers.
The ruling means Bryant’s lawyers can add the deputies’ names — as well as details from the internal affairs investigation into their conduct — to an amended complaint in the suit against the county and the sheriff’s department, according to the Times.
“Although the Court recognizes that this case has been the subject of public scrutiny and media attention and that the Deputy Defendants are legitimately concerned that they will encounter vitriol and social media attacks, such concerns, by themselves, are not sufficient to outweigh the public’s strong interest in access,” Walter wrote in his ruling.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and emotional distress and alleges deputies and firefighters took and shared photos on their personal cellphones of the nine people who died in the Jan. 26, 2020, helicopter crash.
Local court rules give the county four days to appeal the ruling, according to the Times.