Chris and Roberta Laundrie’s attorney says they have “no regrets” about the way they behaved during the Gabby Petito murder investigation.
Lawyer Steve Bertolino told NewsNation host Brian Entin the Laundries “did everything the right way”, despite their refusal to speak to Ms Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt and blocked her cellphone number in the days after she learned her daughter was missing.
An FBI investigation found Ms Petito was strangled by Brian Laundrie and her body was left in a national park in Wyoming. He returned home to his parent’s home in North Port, Florida, before killing himself in a reserve near their home.
Mr Bertolino’s remarks came hours after Ms Petito’s parents appeared in court on Wednesday for the first hearing of a civil lawsuit in which they allege the Laundries made misleading statements that their daughter was still alive when they knew their son Brian had already killed her.
During a tense exchange, NewsNation’s Mr Entin challenged the attorney about their lack of cooperation with the police investigation.
“They didn’t really do anything at all did they? Couldn’t they have come outside and pleaded with the world, ‘if you know where Gabby is, come forward, if you know where Brian is, come forward’. Why couldn’t they have done that?” Mr Entin asked.
Mr Bertolino responded by saying the Laundries had consistently told law enforcement that their son had gone to the Carlton Reserve, which is where his remains were eventually located.
“They knew where Brian was. What is the point in pleading something, when you know the answer,” Mr Bertolino argued.
Mr Entin quizzed the attorney about the advice he had given to remain silent even as protesters gathered for daily protests outside the family home.
“We have no regrets. The parents did everything the right way and they have no regrets.” Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino says “we are very comfortable with the decisions we made.” pic.twitter.com/JttEW56wgB
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) June 23, 2022
“Even though you protected them legally, do you think you made any mistakes along the way since now they are in many ways hated by the world?” Mr Entin asked.
Mr Bertolino replied to say the Laundrie “did everything the right way, and they have no regrets”.
“We’re not happy that Brian (Laundrie) is gone, we’re not happy that Gabby is gone but we’re very comfortable with the decisions we made,” he said.
Ms Petito’s parents are suing the Laundries in Florida’s Sarasota County Circuit Court alleging that Chris and Roberta Laundrie deliberately withheld that their son had killed the vlogger before she was reported missing.
Her mother Nichole Schmidt clutched a necklace containing her Ms Petito’s ashes throughout Wednesday’s court hearing to decide whether a trial can proceed.
The Petitos’ attorney, Pat Reilly, cited a statement made by Mr Bertolino on 16 September as search parties combed the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming for Ms Petito.
Her remains were found in a shallow grave near the park on 19 September.
Mr Reilly claimed the Laundries had deliberately put out a false statement when they knew she was not alive.