Gabby Petito trial – live: Laundrie’s parents skip court as they’re sued for withholding information

Gabby Petito’s father calls Laundrie family ‘cowards’

Lawyers for Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie will come face-to-face in court for the first time on Wednesday as a judge will decide whether a civil lawsuit against the killer’s family can go ahead.

Ms Petito’s parents filed a lawsuit in Florida’s Sarasota County Circuit Court in March alleging that Chris and Roberta Laundrie were aware that their son had killed the vlogger before she was reported missing.

Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt also accuse the Laundries of planning to help Brian leave the country, and are seeking damages for the “intentional infliction of emotional distress”.

Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino has described the allegations as “baseless” and is seeking to have the case thrown out.

The lawsuit alleges Brian Laundrie informed his parents of the Ms Petito’s murder “on or about” 28 August.

“While Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were desperately searching for information concerning their daughter, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed were making arrangements for him to leave the country,” the lawsuit says.

Judge Hunter W. Carroll will hear arguments from both sides to determine whether the case can proceed to a jury trial next year.

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Brian Laundrie’s parents ‘knew where her body was’

Brian Laundrie’s parents knew where Gabby Petito’s body had when they put out a statement hoping she would be found, a civil court hearing has been told.

Ms Petito’s parents Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt 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.

Bevan Hurley has the story.

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 19:41

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Judge asks what legal duty Laundrie family had to Gabby’s parents

“These people were not strangers, their son was engaged to marry Gabby Petito, she had lived with them for about a year, they had visited their home, they had a cordial, warm and friendly relationship, they knew how much Gabby meant to Joe and Nichole,” said Mr Reilly, who called a statement released by the Laundrie family’s lawyer as “callous” and “terrible.”

The statement released by the Laundrie’s lawyer during the hunt for Petito that he is referring to was as follows.

“It is our understanding that a search has been organised for Ms Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Ms Petito is successful and that Ms Petito is reunited with her family.”

Mr Reilly went on to say that the statement “was a lie that gave false hope to gabby’s parents that she might be found alive.”

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 19:32

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Petito layer says Laundrie family could have made ‘anonymous phone call’

“They could have made an anonymous phone call and said where the body was located, that would have helped this situation tremendously,” said Mr Reilly.

“They knew starting on August 28 2021 that Gabby was dead, they knew where gabby’s body was, they knew that the Petito family was desperately searching for information, but they did things affirmatively, they did not just remain silent.”

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 19:18

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Pat Reilly starts arguments for Petito family

“This case is not just about the silence of Christopher and Roberta Laundrie who knew that their son had brutally murdered Gabby Petito, it’s not simply about their callous refusal despite pleas from the Petito family to speak up about whether Gabby was live and if she was where her body was located, it is about a course of conduct that they committed from the moment they learned that their son had brutally murdered gabby Petitio until her body was found,” said Mr Reilly.

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 19:14

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Laundry lawyer finishes argument

“I don’t believe that the Laundries had an obligation to provde some information, they can withhold all information until it is compelled of them or offered immunity by the government,” said Mr Luka as he completed his arguments.

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 19:10

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Judge brings up Johnny Depp case

Judge Hunter W Carroll brought up the fact that Johnny Depp had just been guilty of defamation because of a statement made by his lawyer about Amber Heard.

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 18:57

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Gabby’s mother rubs heart-shaped locket during hearing

Gabby Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt could be seen rubbing a heart-shaped locket as the hearing continued.

(YouTube/WFLA)

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 18:55

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Remaining silent is a ‘foundational right’ says Laundrie lawyer

“People who are faced with difficult challenges have to make difficult choices and in our society it recognises at its core that remaining silent or speaking through an attorney are foundational rights,” said Mr Luka.

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 18:50

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Laundrie parents “not required” to share any information

“My argument is not that there was a privilege between Brian Laundrie and his parents, my argument is that even if Brian Laundrie conveyed information to his parents they do not have a requirement to speak, they do not have to share it,” said Mr Luka.

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 18:44

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Laundrie lawyer up first to argue against case

“The law imposes no such obligation to speak,” said Laundrie lawyer Matt Luka. “In our country and under our laws, people are free not to speak.”

Graeme Massie22 June 2022 18:35

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