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, while the judge presiding over the case cited the defamation ruling against Johnny Depp, which was due to a statement made by his lawyer that Amber Heard’s abuse allegations were a “hoax”.
“Johnny Depp just got found civilly liable for defamation for what his attorney said, right?” the judge asked Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges Brian Laundrie informed his parents of the Ms Petito’s murder “on or about” 28 August.
Judge Hunter W. Carroll will hear arguments from both sides to determine whether the case can proceed to a jury trial next year.
Petito parents allege Laundrie family knew she was deadShow latest update
1655895691Pat Reilly starts arguments for Petito family
ICYMI: “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 12:01
1655919081Petito family arrive in court
Members of Gabby Petito’s family have arrived at the Sarasota County Circuit Court in Venice ahead of a hearing in their civil case agains Brian Laundrie’s family.
Joe and Tara Petito and Jim and Nichole Schmidt will be in court for the hearing.
Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 18:31
1655919202Court case gets underway in Florida
Petito family are present while Laundrie family are not.
Graeme Massie22 June 2022 18:33
1655919333Laundrie 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
1655919890Laundrie 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
1655920220Remaining 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
1655920648Judge 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
1655921429Laundry 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
1655921926Petito 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
1655923601Arguments finished by lawyers
Judge says he will try and make a written decision in the case within two weeks, as the Petito’s lawyer says that if trial goes ahead it will only take a day.
Graeme Massie22 June 2022 19:46