The world first put its eyes on the Laundrie family when Gabby Petito’s mother reported her missing on the day of September 11th. Then it came out that Brian Laundrie had actually returned to Florida much earlier without Gabby, but neither he nor his family reported her absence. Since then, they’ve only cooperated with investigators minimally. They’ve yet to make one public statement surrounding the strange circumstances of the case. Instead, they usually turn to their family lawyer, Steven Bertolino.
Bertolino issued more statements this week than he has in the past few weeks altogether. The interesting thing regarding those statements, however, is the fact that they seem to conflict with some of the statements the Laundries gave prior. One good example of this involves Brian’s use of multiple cell phones. A full breakdown of the conflicting cellphone accounts can be accessed here. Most recently, Steven Bertolino made some comments on Brian’s sister’s presence at the De Soto Campgrounds last month. Let’s break that down.
Did Steven Bertolino Reveal Something of Importance to the Gabby Petito Case?
Brian Laundrie’s sister Cassie is the only Laundrie family member to talk to the press directly. This whole time, she has remained adamant that she knows nothing of Gabby Petito’s disappearance (or homicide). She also recently stated in an interview that she did not make any contact with Brian since his return to Florida. The thing is, her family lawyer just seemed to contradict that.
While Bertolino doesn’t hold press conferences to make his statements, he does have a line of communication with the media. News Nation Now correspondent Brian Entin is one reporter with whom he shares the occasional contact. He initially told Entin Friday: “To my knowledge, Cassie went for a day.” You can catch the tweet here.
This statement came regarding the family’s camping trip(s) at Florida’s De Soto park. This is also where Dog the Bounty Hunter recently set up shop, following anonymous tips that Brian may be nearby. So, the public was left wondering what is the truth? Which of the Laundries actually spent time there? And what did they do? Following some of these questions pouring in, Bertolino sent further communications to Entin Friday. They read as follows:
“Cassie saw her brother Brian on September 01 when he stopped by her home and again on September 6 at Fort De Soto Park. Law enforcement agencies are well aware of these dates. Any prior communication by Cassie that does not reflect these dates is simply a difference of relating an answer to a question misinterpreted by Cassie or poorly posed by the inquirer.”
Dissecting Legal Language
Now, any good lawyer knows that language is important. Sometimes it’s the difference between manslaughter and murder. Other times it’s the difference between “I know” and “I believe.” Recently, people started dissecting Bertolino’s statements. The phrase he once used, “to my knowledge,” is commonplace for attorneys, but can sometimes leave room for plausible deniability.
What is plausible deniability? Well, it’s a way for a lawyer (or his clients) to protect themselves. It means they can potentially deny knowledge and/or responsibility of “damnable actions committed by others.” It’s closely correlated to “pleading the 5th,” which a lot of people have also speculated about. Just something to think about.