A Florida judge has rejected Chris and Roberta Laundrie’s request to limit the scope of questioning during their depositions in a lawsuit brought by the tenants and stepparents of Gabby Petito, who killed their son in Wyoming last year.
The Laundries’ attorneys in October filed a motion asking the court to enforce a narrow line of questioning.
The motion acknowledges that Petito’s family and the public at large are seeking more answers in connection with the slaying – but argues that public interest is not enough to compel the Laundries to answer a broader range of questions.
“The public who followed the case and the Plaintiffs are likely curious about Brian Laundrie’s life, his last days, his interaction with his rents, and the thoughts and feelings experienced by his rents,” Florida attorney Matthew Luka wrote in the filing. “But curiosity is not a reason to require the Defendants to discuss such personal and heart-wrenching details. Rather, the discovery must be relevant to the cause of action at issue.”
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Judge Hunter Carroll shot it down Tuesday.
“We are disappointed that the motion was denied,” Steve Bartolino, one of several lawyers representing them in the case, told Acesparks Digital Tuesday. “Chris and Roberta Laundrie will answer whatever questions they can, and they will invoke all rights and privileges they are entitled to.”
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They had previously invoked their constitutional right to remain silent early on in the search for Petito, who was reported missing on Sept. 11, 2021. Her remains were found just over a week later at a campsite she had shared with Laundrie in late August.
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Petito’s rents allege in the lawsuit that the Laundries knew their son had killed his former fiancé when they went for a family camping trip in early September 2021.
The lawsuit also takes issue with Bertolino’s statement Shortly after the missing person report, which was the following:
“It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in Or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family. On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”
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Reilly, an attorney for the Petito family, called the statement “audacious” in a conversation with reporters outside the Sarasota courthouse earlier this year after the Laundries’ attorneys filed a failed motion to have the lawsuit dismissed.
“For the Laundries to express their ‘hope’ that Gabrielle Petito was located and reunited with her family, at a time when they knew she had been murdered by their son, was beyond outrageous,” the amended complaint reads.
Petito’s rents are also suing police in Moab, Utah, in connection with the slaying, and recently won a $3 million judgment against Laundrie’s estate.