• One laptop turned in by L.A. County Sheriff's Department had an encrypted password
  • Forensic expert David Freskos said the department violated fundamental forensics principles
  • Three officials testified that deputies who agreed to destroy evidence were promoted

A forensic expert has revealed digital evidence in Vanessa Bryant's case against the Los Angeles County, and some of its agencies and employees, was "permanently destroyed" by the law enforcement.

The expert, David Freskos, said during court proceedings Wednesday the first responders -- responsible for taking photos of Kobe Bryant's crash site and sharing the photos publicly -- had gotten rid of evidence by wiping their phones clean and resetting them to factory settings before turning them over to Kroll, the forensics firm hired to analyze devices from the L.A. Sheriff's Department and Fire Department, People reported.

According to Freskos, who was hired by Vanessa to analyze Kroll's report, nine of the 11 iPhones from the department were not the ones they had used to take photos at the site. The other phones, one of which belonged to a police personnel accused of showing the photos to a bartender, also had all their photos deleted.

Freskos also found the laptops surrendered by the fire department to Kroll were not analyzed because one had an encrypted password, and the other had a missing internal hard drive. The forensics expert said in his testimony it was clear the law enforcement had deliberately destroyed digital evidence in the case, violating fundamental forensics principles.

"Mobile devices have volatile data and must be forensically preserved to prevent loss," he said.

The trial centered on the lawsuit filed by Vanessa and the father of two other victims in the crash after learning that Joey Cruz, one of the first responders to the crash, had publicly shared photos of the crash scene from at least 28 devices owned by department.

During Wednesday's court proceeding, a sheriff and two fire captains testified higher-ups had instructed deputies to wipe the devices clean after reports of them publicly sharing the photos had surfaced.

The witnesses said those who agreed to destroy all traces of evidence were eventually promoted, while those who disagreed faced dire consequences. One of them was Captain Matthew Vander Horck, who testified Tuesday he was among those who disagreed with the order and was transferred from his position as a result.

Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Photos Trial: What To Know
Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Photos Trial: What To Know