Brian Laundrie’s family denies ‘full knowledge’ of Gabby Petito’s murder

Posted at 3:53 PM, December 11, 2023

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (Court TV) — In a new court filing, the attorney who represented Brian Laundrie denied allegations that Laundrie’s parents had “full knowledge” of Petito’s murder, but responded to other allegations saying he is limited by attorney-client privilege.

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito

FILE – This Aug. 12, 2021, file photo from video provided by the Moab, Utah, Police Department shows Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito talking to police officers after police pulled over their van near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

In an amended complaint filed on Nov. 30, Gabby Petito’s family alleged that Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta, knew that Gabby was dead before Brian returned home on Sept. 1, 2021. Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming on Sept. 19, 2021.

Steven Bertolino, the attorney who the Laundrie family retained to represent Brian, had been named in the Petito family’s lawsuit because of statements he made on behalf of the family during the nationwide search for Gabby.

Allegations in the Petitos’ complaint include that Brian murdered Gabby on Aug. 27, 2021, and that her cause of death was “blunt force injuries to the head and neck with manual strangulation.”

READ MORE: Lawsuit: Brian Laundrie called parents to say Gabby Petito was ‘gone’

Bertolino said in response that he “is either without knowledge and/or is unable to admit or deny knowledge as to the allegations … as to do so would violate the attorney-client privilege between this Defendant and by Brian Laundrie (which Brian Laundrie has not waived) and therefore, this Defendant denies same.”

Bertolino admitted that the Laundrie family contacted him on Aug. 29, which the Petitos claimed they did after Brian called to say that Gabby was “gone” and needed a lawyer. But Bertolino denied that Brian’s parents knew that any harm had come to Gabby.

At the heart of the Petitos’ complaint is a statement that Bertolino made on behalf of the Laundrie family, where they offered wishes for Gabby’s safe return — while the Petitos claim the family knew she was already dead.

But Bertolino categorically denies the family having any knowledge about Gabby’s whereabouts.

“The statement was made following urging and demands — some life threatening — for information and comment from Plaintiffs, law enforcement, the press, and the public. This Defendant denies that Defendants CHRISTOPHER LAUNDRIE and ROBERTA LAUNDRIE had ‘full knowledge’ that Gabrielle Petito had been murdered by Brian Laundrie at that time and further denies that Defendants CHRISTOPHER LAUNDRIE and ROBERTA LAUNDRIE knew the whereabouts of her body.”

The Petitos’ lawsuit is asking for more than $30,000 and is scheduled to go to trial in May 2024. There is a pre-trial conference scheduled on Mar. 22, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.m.