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Gabby Petito's parents claim Laundries' lawyer also knew Brian murdered Gabby

The lawsuit claims Christopher and Roberta Laundrie and their attorney, Steven Bertolino, already knew Brian murdered Gabby while authorities were searching for her.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Gabby Petito's parents plan to add the lawyer of Christopher and Roberta Laundrie to a lawsuit against the family, claiming he, too, played a part in causing the "mental suffering and anguish" they faced in the desperate search for their daughter.

The civil lawsuit filed in Sarasota County now includes a mention to add Steven Bertolino as a defendant. 

The lawsuit claims Bertolino and the Laundries were already aware that Brian Laundrie had murdered Petito while the cross-country search for the missing 22-year-old was underway.

"Christopher Laundrie, Roberta Laundrie and Steven Bertolino further knew that they could prevent such additional mental suffering and anguish of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt by disclosing what they knew about the well-being and location of the remains of Gabrielle Petito, yet they repeatedly refused to do so," the complaint reads.   

Lawyers for Petito and Schmidt explain in the lawsuit that Bertolino acted as an agent for the Laundries, putting out multiple statements expressing "hope" that Gabby would be found and reunited with her family, "knowing full well that Gabrielle Petitio was deceased."

The lawsuit calls Bertolino and the Laundries' actions "beyond outrageous" and claims they acted with "malice or great indifference" to the rights of Petito's family.

Bertolino and the Laundries "exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct which constitutes behavior, under the circumstances, which goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community," according to the complaint.

Petito and Schmidt are seeking damages that exceed $30,000 for their "suffering and anguish." A hearing is set for Dec. 19, and a full jury trial is set to begin in August 2023.

Last month, a judge awarded Petito's family $3 million in a separate wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Laundrie's estate. This lawsuit is also separate from the one Petito's family filed against the Moab Police Department.

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