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Vanessa Bryant asked to undergo psychiatric exam to evaluate 'emotional injuries' from crash pix

Vanessa Bryant is being asked to undergo 'a physician-ran test on her mental state' to assess and 'evaluate' the extent of her alleged emotional distress regarding the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash images.

The 39-year-old widow of the late NBA legend had sued LA county for negligence and invasion of privacy, and accused the county sheriff and fire department of improperly sharing photos from the crash that killed Bryant and daughter Gianna on January 26.

Legal documents obtained by USA Today said that Vanessa previously 'refused to submit to independent medical examinations,' despite putting her mental condition at the core of the lawsuit.

L.A. County attorneys have requested Vanessa undergo a psych evaluation to prove her alleged distress, a request the star may be forced to oblige 'via a judge's ruling if need be.'

Request: Vanessa Bryant is being asked to undergo 'a physician-ran test on her mental state' to assess and 'evaluate' the extent of her alleged emotional distress regarding the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash images; Vanessa seen in May 2021

Crash site: A photo of the helicopter crash site that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others on January 26 was obtained by the National Transportation Safety Board 

The basis of LA County's filing stems from trying to discern if Bryant's alleged emotional distress — that prompted her to sue the county in September 2020 — stemmed from the sharing of the gruesome images or the tragic crash itself. 

 The county is seeking the court ordered evaluation in an effort to defend itself from her lawsuit, where she currently seeks 'tens of millions of dollars' in damages for negligence, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The filing reads in excerpt: 'Despite putting their mental condition front and center in this case, Plaintiffs refuse to submit to independent medical examinations (IMEs).' 

It was added: 'The County brings this motion to compel IMEs of the Plaintiffs, which are necessary to evaluate the existence, extent and nature of Plaintiffs' alleged emotional injuries. 

'Plaintiffs cannot claim that they are suffering from ongoing depression, anxiety and severe emotional distress and then balk at having to support their claims.' 

Getting to the bottom of it: The basis of LA County's filing stems from trying to discern if Bryant's alleged emotional distress — that prompted her to sue the county  — stemmed from the sharing of the gruesome images or the tragic crash itself; pictured February 24

Legal action: Vanessa has been seeking 'tens of millions of dollars' in damages for negligence, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress in her September 2020 lawsuit after accusing deputies of taking and leaking photos of the crash in the hills of Calabasas, and of 'showing off' pictures of her husband and daughter's bodies

Her legal team ripped the possible mandate and called it a 'bullying' tactic, saying that the need for a mental exam showed a lack of 'accountability' for the gruesome images which circulated amongst the department. 

Fighting the request her team also said that forcing involuntary psychiatric exams on a group of surviving family members that includes 'four teenagers, a 10-year-old child, and a 5-year-old kindergartener,' was immoral. 

'Unable to defend the indefensible conduct of its employees who took and shared horrific photographs of Plaintiffs’ deceased loved ones. … the County has resorted to scorched-earth discovery tactics designed to bully Plaintiffs into abandoning their pursuit of accountability,' her attorney said. 

A judge is set to rule over the matter in coming weeks and the trial regarding the images is slated for February, though the county had originally said her lawsuit about the photos had no merit. 

Vanessa had accused deputies of taking and leaking photos of the crash in the hills of Calabasas, and of 'showing off' pictures of her husband and daughter's bodies. 

Airing it out: Vanessa named the four LA County sheriff's deputies accused of sharing the images in March and the trial regarding her image lawsuit is slated for February; Gianna, 13, and Kobe, passed when their helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas 

Surviving members: Her attorney said that forcing involuntary psychiatric exams on a group of surviving family members that includes 'four teenagers, a 10-year-old child, and a 5-year-old kindergartener,' was immoral; Vanessa is seen with she and Kobe's remaining daughters Gianna, 18, Bianka, four, and Capri, two 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told news outlets that eight deputies were found to have taken or shared the graphic crime scene photos which he then ordered them to delete. 

An internal investigation by the Los Angeles County Fire Department found that two firefighters - whose names were not disclosed in the court filings - had taken photos of the bodies in the helicopter wreckage that 'served no business necessity,' Vanessa's attorneys wrote, and 'only served to appeal to baser instincts and desires for what amounted to visual gossip.'

They then sent the photos to a third firefighter - a media relations officer who went to the scene and later shared the images with off-duty firefighters and their wives and girlfriends while socializing at an awards ceremony at a Hilton hotel the month after the crash.

The two firefighters - one of whom was at the site solely to monitor safety procedures - were sent 'intention to discharge' letters last December. 

Currently Bryant's attorney, Luis Li, is seeking the phone records of a retired fire department captain who took photos at the crash scene and was almost fired over it following an investigation.  

Defense: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told news outlets that eight deputies were found to have taken or shared the graphic crime scene photos which he then ordered them to delete, and in her lawsuit Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the sheriff's department are listed as defendants; pictured February 2019

Crime: Gov. Gavin Newsom last year signed a law that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime

Doxxing: Vanessa shared the officer's names to her Instagram page, squared in red, along with several pages of the lawsuit; the officers named as Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales

California Governor Gavin Newsom had passed legislation making it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime. 

In March 2020 Vanessa revealed the names of four of the eight deputies in question after a federal judge ruled in March that their names and ranks no longer needed to be kept private. 

She named the officers: Joey Cruz, Rafael Mejia, Michael Russell and Raul Versales, as she shared an Instagram post of the lawsuit with their names squared in red. 

The county had said in a counter filing that doxxing the names was a 'fishing expedition,' and subjected the men to 'public harassment and threats,' with one comment reading in response to her post: 'PULL EM OUTTA HIDING LIKE ROACHES THEY ARE.'

'This straightforward case, with undisputed facts, has turned into a fishing expedition that is taking first responders away from their jobs — and subjecting them to public harassment and threats,' the county's filing read.