Manitowoc, WI – A Manitowoc County sheriff’s detective who helped convict Steven Avery for the murder of Teresa Halbach is suing those who produced the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” for defamation.
The Netflix series focused on whether or not Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, had been framed for the 2005 murder of Halbach, a 25-year-old photographer, according to Rolling Stone.
Detective Andrew Colborn, a 26-year veteran of the force who retired earlier this year, filed the lawsuit in Manitowoc County Court on Monday, WBAY reported.
Det. Colborn is also suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence, and demanded a trial by jury.
The lawsuit alleged that the Netflix documentary series was edited and presented in a way that “falsely led viewers to the inescapable conclusion that [Colborn] and others planted evidence to frame Avery for Halbach’s murder,” according to the news outlet.
The lawsuit further claimed that filmmakers and producers “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.”
Instead of expressing an opinion about the case or presenting unbiased facts, the filmmakers allegedly led viewers to false conclusions by manipulating trail testimony, the lawsuit alleged, according to Variety.
“Defendants did so with actual malice and in order to make the film more profitable and more successful…sacrificing and defining [Colborn’s] character and reputation in the process,” the suit read, according to Rolling Stone.
The docuseries also intentionally omitted key evidence presented during Avery’s trial, such as his DNA being found on the murdered woman’s trunk latch, and that a bullet with Halbach’s DNA was linked to a gun hanging in the convicted killer’s home, the suit read, according to WBAY.
In the fifth episode of the series, the filmmakers allegedly misrepresented Det. Colborn’s courtroom testimony regarding Halbach’s vehicle, and made it appear that the detective had discovered the SUV and moved it onto Avery’s property to frame him, Rolling Stone reported.
More specifically, filmmakers allegedly spliced Det. Colborn’s “yes” response from another line of questioning from the trial into a portion of the show where a defense attorney was asking him if he was looking at the victim’s vehicle when he called dispatch to run the plate – two days earlier than Halbach’s vehicle was actually found.
“Their manipulation of this crucial line of testimony falsely conveyed to viewers that plaintiff located Halbach’s SUV somewhere other than at the salvage yard days earlier and likely assisted other law enforcement officers plant it there at a later time,” the lawsuit said.
“The impression is false and gave to viewers the exact opposite impression of what plaintiff was asked and how he responded at trial,” it read.
According to the detective’s attorney, Michael Griesbach, the series essentially villainized Det. Colborn, and he and his family members have received death threats from those who support Avery since the show debuted in December of 2015, WBAY reported.
He has also lost wages and incurred additional expenses in order to protect his family and himself, Griesbach added.
The lawsuit does not seek a specific dollar figure, but does demand that Netflix and the other defendants named in the suit clarify the misrepresentations they perpetuated about Det. Colborn in order to “clear his good name,” WBAY reported.
Netflix declined to comment about the pending lawsuit, Variety reported.
Avery and Dassey are both serving life sentences for killing Halbach, according to the Herald Times Reporter.