Gabby Petito family withdraws motion to compel testimony from Brian Laundrie lawyer

A lawyer for the parents of slain travel blogger Gabby Petito has withdrawn his request for the court to order her suspected killer’s lawyer to break attorney-client privilege and testify about what his client told him after her death and before the public knew she was missing.

The motion would have tested whether privilege exists between a deceased client, who never waived that privilege but who confessed to the crime in a suicide note.

Pat Reilly, the attorney for Petito’s parents, argued in court filings that the handwritten confession counted as a waiver.

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Steve Bertolino, the Laundrie lawyer who has been named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit, told Fox News Digital that argument “was not supported by the law or the facts.”

With the motion withdrawn, a Dec. 20 hearing on the issue has been canceled. In a statement to local WFLA-TV, Reilly said he no longer feels he needs Bertolino’s testimony to make the case.

In separate filings as part of the same lawsuit against them, Brian Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta denied allegations that they knew about Petito’s death but conceded that they contacted Bertolino regarding legal representation for their son on Aug. 29. Bertolino then worked to obtain a top Wyoming lawyer for Brian Laundrie – which remained publicly unknown until last week.

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Petito wasn’t reported missing until Sept. 11. Petito is alleged to have been killed on Aug. 27, and between that time, Laundrie drove from Wyoming to his parents’ house in Florida in her van, allegedly using her debit card during the journey.

He went camping with his family for Labor Day weekend and said nothing about his missing fiancee’s whereabouts. 

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Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt are suing the Laundries, alleging the Laundries had direct knowledge of Petito’s death and likely knowledge of the whereabouts of her remains when they issued a statement through Bertolino expressing the “hope” that Gabby would be found and “reunited with her family.” 

Reilly has argued that the statement is “outrageous” due to the Laundries’ alleged knowledge of Petito’s murder, and it inflicted emotional distress. 

In the latest filings from the Laundrie side, they argued that they felt pressured to say something – despite their right to remain silent – because of widespread media coverage, protesters amassed outside their house and, allegedly, death threats.

Brian Laundrie confessed to killing Petito in a suicide note found near his remains in the Florida swamp about 10 minutes from his parents’ house in North Port.

Since the case grabbed national headlines in 2021, Petito’s parents have become advocates for missing persons and domestic violence victims.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 (SAFE).

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