A Los Angeles County firefighter denied under oath Wednesday that he showed photos of Kobe Bryant’s mangled body to guests at a gala less than a month after the helicopter crash that killed the NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
Tony Imbrenda — who took the stand as part of a federal invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed by Bryant’s widow Vanessa — also refuted claims that his girlfriend had tried to show the disturbing images to another crash victim’s relative.
“My girlfriend had no knowledge of the pictures,” Imbrenda replied after Vanessa Bryant’s attorney Luis Li asserted: “Your girlfriend was excited about the pictures.”
It came after Luella Weireter, whose cousin Keri Altobelli died in the 2020 crash, testified last week that Imbrenda’s partner had invited attendees of California’s Golden Mike Awards on February 15, 2020 to view photos of the wreckage, Law and Crime reported.
But Imbrenda testified Wednesday there was “no way” his girlfriend asked Weireter and the group she was with to check out the pics.
The firefighter, however, acknowledged that he had shown other people at the event images of the crash site — but denied that any were of Bryant’s corpse.
Imbrenda also stated his gal pal had no knowledge of the disturbing photos that were allegedly shared among first responders following the Jan. 26, 2020 crash.
“My girlfriend had no knowledge of the pictures,” Imbrenda told the court.
“Are you testifying that your girlfriend was not animated when she went over to Luella Weireter” to ask to see the photos, Li then asked.
“I’m adamantly testifying that’s not true,” Imbrenda replied.
Weireter had told the jury that she overheard another firefighter, Sky Cornell, say during the swanky event, “I can’t believe I just looked at Kobe’s burnt up body and now I’m about to eat,” Li said Wednesday, citing the prior testimony.
Last week, Weireter said in court she was “disgusted, shocked and was just trying to hold my composure” when she glanced over and saw Imbrenda sharing the pics.
Imbrenda also said on the stand Wednesday he took photos at the scene the day after the crash and was also sent photos from others since he was the county’s information officer.
“As I said I can’t speak to what my actions resulted in. I would never engage in behavior that would hurt families,” Imbrenda replied when Li told him, “What you did at the gala hurt the Bryant family.”
Another witness Wednesday, LA fire Capt. Erik Scott said he saw a few photos from Imbrenda at the gala, but the two only discussed how to handle a media frenzy, not about Kobe’s remains.
Scott is the department’s current public information officer.