The family of the helicopter pilot involved in the chopper crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter wants his widow’s wrongful death suit moved out of LA, according to a new report.
Ara Zobayan’s relatives argued in new court papers that Bryant is so beloved in the City of Angels, it would be impossible for them to get a fair trial, TMZ reported.
Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, sued Zobayan — who also perished in the Jan. 26 crash — along with Island Express Helicopters in Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this year.
But a family member of Zobayan’s has asked a judge to move the case to Orange County, arguing that they are more likely to get impartial jurors there, according to TMZ.
“The notoriety and popularity of the late Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles County is detailed herein and reached a level that left no person in the county unaware of his role in branding Los Angeles as his city,” Zoboyan’s family stated in the court filing, according to the report.
“No other single individual in recent memory, sports figure or otherwise, has been considered by the people to be such a personification of their city of Los Angeles.”
The NBA star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other passengers died when the chopper crashed into the side of a mountain near Calabasas.
Zobayan was flying 180 miles per hour through heavy fog shortly before the tragic collision.
The suit charges that the pilot failed to obtain proper weather data before taking off, and failed to cancel the flight when he learned of the conditions.
Vanessa Bryant is seeking unspecified damages, in part, for the “pre-impact” terror suffered by Kobe and Gianna in the seconds before their death.