LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant had found a measure of closure in February 2020 after the emotional, tribute-rich memorial for her late husband, the basketball star Kobe Bryant.
Then, days later, as she relaxed at home with friends and her younger daughters, Ms. Bryant learned that sheriff’s deputies had privately shared photos of victims’ remains at the site of the helicopter crash that killed Mr. Bryant and their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, along with seven other people.
Ms. Bryant bolted from her home, she testified in a Los Angeles federal courthouse on Friday.
“I felt like I wanted to run down the block and just scream,” she said. “But I couldn’t escape. I can’t escape my body.”
trial stemming from Ms. Bryant’s lawsuit against Los Angeles County over the handling of crash site photos. On the trial’s eighth day in a bright, new federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, jurors heard Ms. Bryant describe her grief for the first time in court; she later shed light on her family’s business ventures under questioning from a county attorney. Just after she testified, Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff, took the witness stand and submitted to a rare round of public questioning.
Mr. Bryant’s death at age 41 stunned sports fans around the world. He was an N.B.A. icon who set records, led his Los Angeles Lakers to five championships and spent his entire 20-year playing career with the same team.
To Ms. Bryant, he was a doting “girl dad” with big dreams for their family, she said on Friday. Her voice shattered as she told stories of their home life — how she and her husband, whom she married at a young age, would compete even playing mini-golf, and how he planned to travel the world with her after he retired.
The thought that graphic images of Mr. Bryant and their daughter were being circulated publicly, she testified, made her feel helpless, violated and betrayed. Wearing a black jacket over a black dress, with her long, dark hair sweeping over her face, she paused frequently to cry.
She is seeking damages for emotional distress that she says resulted from officials from the Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments carelessly sharing the photos.