Who Is Brian Laundrie's Lawyer Steven Bertolino?

Steven Bertolino is the lawyer for the family of 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the investigation of the disappearance of Gabby Petito. The 22-year-old vlogger went missing after setting off on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend Laundrie.

Bertolino's client returned home from the journey alone at the start of September and was last seen on September 14.

On Monday, September 20, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and police executed a search warrant of Laundrie's residence in North Port, where the couple shared a home.

The search was conducted after the FBI discovered what is believed to be the body of Petito on the outskirts of a national park in Wyoming on Sunday—just over a week after she was reported missing by her family.

Who Is Steven Bertolino?

Bertolino has been practicing law since 1994 on New York's Long Island, where Laundrie and Petito grew up as childhood sweethearts. He earned a Juris Doctor law degree at Long Island's Hofstra University, according to the website for his law offices based in East Islip, New York.

Bertolino has handled a variety of cases involving different types of law, from real estate law, business law, civil and commercial litigation to personal injury law and criminal cases, the website says.

The New York lawyer has come into the spotlight following his client's involvement in the Gabby Petito case.

North Port Police have said Laundrie hadn't cooperated or spoken with officers during their investigation since he arrived back alone in Florida.

In a tweet on September 15, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison made a direct plea to the lawyer, asking for help with getting in touch with Laundrie.

"Mr. Steven Bertolino, esq. the @NorthPortPolice needs your help in finding Gabby Petito. Please call us to arrange a conversation with Brian Laundrie. Two people left on a trip and one person returned! #wheresgabby #FindGabby #fbitampa #gabbypetito," Garrison tweeted.

Bertolino's Statement on Brian Laundrie

In a statement last week, Bertolino said Laundrie would not be speaking to police because "intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this."

Bertolino pointed out that the warning that any statement made "will be used against you is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms Petito's disappearance.

"As such, on the advice of counsel Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter," the lawyer said at the time.

Late Monday, Laundrie's lawyer canceled a press conference that was scheduled for Tuesday, September 21, at 1:00 p.m. local time. Bertolino said the decision to cancel it was made after speaking with the FBI on Monday evening, reported WABC.

On Tuesday, local news station WAFF 48 reported police began searching for Laundrie in Mobile, Alabama after he was spotted eating at a restaurant.

The authorities were reported to be investigating claims online that allege he was also seen walking across a road and that someone had given Laundrie a ride and dropped him off at a nearby area close to a Walmart store.

Bertolino Under Fire Amid Gabby Petito Case

Several users of Yelp!, a crowdsourced review platform, have criticized Bertolino for representing Laundrie's family.

Some anonymous users of the platform took aim at the lawyer, referring to the apparent lack of information provided by his client's family.

One user wrote, "May your karma own you. You are disgusting," while another said "Silence is reprehensible. Two people left on a trip and one person returned."

Bertolino did get some support on another review website. A user in one Google review said he is "a good defense lawyer who advises his clients not to give up their 5th amendment right as guaranteed by the constitution."

Another Google reviewer wrote: "This man is just doing his job. The same exact job every single defense attorney out there does.

Newsweek has contacted Bertolino for comment.

A makeshift Gabby Petito memorial in Florida.
A makeshift memorial dedicated to Gabby Petito seen on September 20, 2021 in North Port, Florida. Octavio Jones/Getty Images