Gabby Petito's parents take legal aim at Brian Laundrie's former attorney
In a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Danielle Brewer ruled that Steve Bertolino, the former Lawyer of Brian Laundrie, could be added to Petito's parents' lawsuit against Laundrie's parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie.
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt are suing the Laundries – and now Bertolino – for allegedly knowing that Petito was dead and that she was murdered before her body was discovered in the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in September 2021.
Following the hearing, Schmidt told WFLA, "Gabby was there with us" in the courtroom, adding, "I could feel her."
Pat Reilly, the lawyer representing the Petito family, also provided the outlet with some context regarding Bertolno's addition to the suit: "They’ve been through a lot. They’ve had to listen to a lot of statements made by Mr. Bertolino on behalf of the family, statements that were sometimes hurtful to them."
Petito's parents believe adding him to the suit will provide "justice for what has occurred," per Reilly.
Days before Petito's body was found, Bertolino issued a statement on behalf of the Laundrie family saying they hoped "the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family."
According to the Petito family's lawsuit, they are seeking monetary compensation of at least $100,000 for their "pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, [and] loss of capacity for enjoyment of life," as a "direct and proximate result of the willfulness and maliciousness," of the Laundries and now Bertolino.
The Petito family takes on the Laundrie estate
In November 2022, Petito's parents were awarded $3 million in wrongful death lawsuit against Laundrie's estate.
A trial for the lawsuit against Chris and Roberta Laundrie that Bertolino was just added to is expected to take place later this year.
Petito's death was ruled a homicide. Laundrie was named a person of interest in the case, but his remains were found nearly one month after Petito's at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. His death was later ruled a suicide.
The FBI confirmed that Laundrie confessed to murdering Petito in a notebook found near the area his remains were located.
Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/gabspetito