Former fire captain walked off witness stand 3 times during testimony over Kobe Bryant crash scene photos 

Brian Jordan claims that he's still experiencing stress symptoms related to working at the site of Bryant's fatal 2020 helicopter crash.

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The federal civil trial of Vanessa Bryant versus Los Angeles County had some high-tension moments Monday when a former fire captain walked off the witness stand three times during his testimony. 

According to CNN, Brian Jordan alleged that he was still experiencing stress from working at the 2020 helicopter crash site and resisted questions from Bryant’s attorney about photos taken where NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed. 

Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, leaves a Los Angeles courthouse. She has taken her lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff and fire departments to a federal jury, seeking compensation for photos deputies shared of the remains of her NBA-star husband, their daughter and seven others killed in a helicopter crash. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)

“Kobe Bryant’s remains were among the pictures?” asked Bryant’s attorney Luis Li before being cut off by Jordan, CNN reports. 

“I need a break, I need a break,” Jordan said, standing up. “Sorry, your honor,” he added, then walked off the stand for the first time. Li noted that Jordan exited with his attorney, Steven Haney, each of the three times he left.

Haney alleged that Jordan’s exits were due to “a medical condition associated with his viewing of the crash scene, and it causes him to suffer trauma.” The lawyer was later chastised by the judge for objecting despite not being an attorney for the County, which is the case’s defendant. 

In addition to walking off the stand, Jordan alleged that he did not remember taking photographs that fateful January day because he blocked it out of his memory when he retired in early 2021. However, he also said the scene would “haunt” him “forever.”

On the stand, Jordan pushed back against questions about the photographs, which were reportedly taken as part of the fire department response. “Maybe that was the day I should have been insubordinate,” he said. 

Other testimony Monday included that of L.A. County sheriff deputies who received and shared the photos. One of them, Joey Cruz, said he accepted the photos believing he may have had to write a report about the crash. However, he also shared them with his friend, a bartender.

“He’s a close friend that I vent to,” Cruz admitted. “I took it too far, something I shouldn’t have done.”

Bryant’s lawsuit alleges that L.A. County officials invaded her privacy and failed to contain the spread of the photos of her deceased husband and child, traumatizing her with the fear that the morbid pictures could show up online. However, the county counters that the photos were contained. 

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