A retired sheriff’s detective has sued Netflix and a number of filmmakers for defamation after he claims the hit documentary Making a Murderer falsely suggested that he planted evidence to frame Stephen Avery.
On Monday, Andrew Colborn filed a lawsuit in Manitowoc County Circuit Court in Wisconsin alleging that he had been subject to “worldwide ridicule, contempt and disdain” since the docuseries’ December 2015 debut on the streaming platform, according to court documents obtained by WBAY.
Colborn had helped convict Steven Avery in the 2005 killing of photographer Teresa Halbach, a case that was detailed in the 2015 docuseries, which questioned Avery’s murder conviction.
In the suit, Colborn claims that Making a Murderer “falsely led viewers to the inescapable conclusion that (Colborn) and others planted evidence to frame Avery for Halbach's murder.”
“Defendants omitted, distorted, and falsified material and significant facts in an effort to portray (Colborn) as a corrupt police officer who planted evidence to frame an innocent man. Defendants did so with actual malice and in order to make the film more profitable and more successful in the eyes of their peers,” the lawsuit stated.
It goes on to allege that filmmakers failed to include key evidence in the docuseries, including Avery's DNA being on Halbach's hood latch, Avery's changing statements, and a bullet with Halbach's DNA linked to a firearm hanging on Avery's wall.
As a result of the filmmakers’ failure to present viewers an unbiased view of the case, the suit claims that Colborn and his family eceived death threats from Avery supporters and that he has been forced to be cautious when making travel or dining plans, causing Colborn severe emotional distress and loss of wages and other expenses to protect his family.
Along with Netflix, the lawsuit names Making a Murderer directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, Netflix executives Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo, and editor Mary Manhardt, and several others as defendants. Although the suit doesn’t seek a specific dollar amount, it does demand a jury trial and demands that the filmmakers “clear his good name.”
Avery, along with his nephew, Brendan Dassey, are currently serving life sentences for the 2005 murder. Despite a number of requests for appeals, they have all been denied.0comments
Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, has since filed a motion to test bones discovered in a Manitowoc County gravel pit that she believes will prove her client’s innocence and prove that he was framed.
Making a Murderer Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available for streaming on Netflix.