During depositions for the upcoming civil trial between the two families, Chris and Roberta Laundrie said in a “frantic” phone call on Aug. 29, 2021, two days after Petito was believed to have been murdered, that their son informed them that Petito was “gone” and that he needed a lawyer, according to Petito attorney Pat Reilly.
Reilly said Chris and Roberta Laundrie did not admit to knowing Petito had been killed, only that they were told by Brian Laundrie that she was “gone.”
According to court documents and the depositions, Chris and Roberta Laundrie then informed their longtime lawyer Steven Bertolino that Petito was “gone” and that Brian Laundrie was in need of an attorney. A retainer was sent to him six days later.
Reilly said he believes the Laundries, and possibly Bertolino, were told more. He has filed a motion to force Bertolino to reveal what Brian Laundrie told him. A hearing on the motion and whether Brian Laundrie’s attorney-client privilege should be upheld is scheduled for Dec. 20 in Florida’s Sarasota County Circuit Court.
“I want to know what [Brian Laundrie] told Bertolino,” Reilly told Nexstar’s WFLA. “He probably admitted more. And did [Bertolino] know where Gabby’s body was located?”
Ryan Gilbert, the attorney representing the Laundries in the Petito civil suit, has not responded to a request for comment. Bertolino declined to comment.
According to the court documents, the Petito family alleges that in the aftermath of Petito’s killing, Brian Laundrie used Petito’s phone to send text messages to her family in an attempt to deceive them. Among the messages sent, Brian Laundrie is believed to have sent a text to Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, about Gabby Petito’s grandfather and referred to him as “Stan.” Schmidt has stated that Gabby Petito never called her grandfather by his first name and that the text was highly suspicious.
Schmidt and Joe Petito, Gabby Petito’s father, have sued the Laundries and Bertolino for intentional infliction of emotional distress, claiming they were aware Gabby Petito was dead but chose to do nothing other than release a statement expressing hope that she would be found.
After several postponements, the trial is scheduled for May 2024.
Source: Fox 8 News Channel