Avery case investigator sues Netflix, 'Making a Murderer' filmmakers

Steven Avery is a convict from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. His case was the subject of the...
Steven Avery is a convict from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. His case was the subject of the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer."(NBC15)
Published: Dec. 17, 2018 at 3:10 PM CST
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One of the detectives who investigated the Teresa Halbach murder is suing Netflix and the filmmakers behind "Making a Murderer" for defamation and negligence.

Andrew Colborn says the documentary blames him for planting evidence to get Steven Avery's conviction.

The lawsuit filed in Manitowoc County Court on Monday claims the way the series is edited "falsely led viewers to the inescapable conclusion that (Colborn) and others planted evidence to frame Avery for Halbach's murder."

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"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 states.

An exhibit attached to the lawsuit is a transcript of Colborn's testimony, showing his entire examination by the district attorney was omitted in the documentary, and portions of his testimony under cross-examination were edited or omitted.

It also says though the filmmakers claimed to be unbiased, they failed to include significant facts from the trial, like 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.

Colborn's attorney, Michael Griesbach, says the Netflix series made his client the subject of worldwide contempt and severely harmed his reputation. It says Colborn and his family received death threats from Avery supporters, and he has to be careful when making travel or dining plans, causing Colborn severe emotional distress and to lose wages and other expenses to protect his family.

The lawsuit says Colborn was in law enforcement for 26 years but at no time was he considered a public official or a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, which is important in state defamation laws.

Colborn retired from the sheriff's office earlier this year.

The lawsuit seeks a judgment against the filmmakers, Netflix and other individuals involved in the documentary and also demands they make an honest clarification "to clear his good name." It doesn't seek a specific dollar amount but does demand a jury trial.

Griesbach is a former Manitowoc County prosecutor. Though he didn't work on the Avery case, he published a book about it in 2016 called "Indefensible: The Missing Truth about Steven Avery, Teresa Halbach and Making a Murderer" with counterpoints to the documentary.