Suit: Laundries' Lawyer Knew Petito Was Dead

Gabby Petito's parents claim he made 'coldhearted' statement on a possible reunion anyway
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2022 9:45 AM CST
Suit: Laundries' Lawyer Knew Petito Was Dead
Nichole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, speaks alongside, from left, Tara Petito, stepmother, Joseph Petito, father, Richard Stafford, family attorney, and Jim Schmidt, stepfather, during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Bohemia, NY.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Gabby Petito's parents filed a motion Tuesday to add Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the parents of Brian Laundrie, to their ongoing negligence lawsuit against the couple, alleging he, too, knew Laundrie had killed Petito before her body was found. Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt initially sued Christopher and Roberta Laundrie in March, claiming they knew their son had murdered Petito, and likely knew where her body could be found, when they took him camping in early September, days before Petito's parents reported Gabby missing. They now allege Bertolino also knew of Petito's murder and the likely location of her body when he claimed the family was hopeful "that Miss Petito is reunited with her family" during a search in Wyoming on Sept. 14, per CNN.

"It is believed that at the time the September 14, 2021, statement was issued, the Laundries and Steven Bertolino knew that Gabby Petito was deceased, and that under those circumstances, the statement was insensitive, coldhearted, and outrageous," the motion reads, per Fox News. Last month, Petito's parents settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of Brian Laundrie, who died by suicide, for $3 million. This separate negligence suit is set for trial in August. The couple has also filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department, claiming officers who responded to an altercation between Petito and Laundrie two weeks before Petito's death should have recognized that she "needed immediate protection." More on that here. (More Gabby Petito stories.)

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