According to Variety, retired Wisconsin sheriff’s detective Andrew Colborn is suing Netflix for defamation, claiming that Making a Murderer wrongly asserts that he planted evidence in an attempt to frame Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for murder.
The suit asserts that the filmmakers of the series “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…sacrificing and defining [Colborn’s] character and reputation in the process.”
Netflix, Making a Murderer directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, Netflix executives Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo, and editor Mary Manhardt are all named as defendants.
A former detective with the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office who helped convict Steven Avery is suing Netflix and the makers of the docu-series "Making a Murderer". https://t.co/VjCtVzPm2i https://t.co/4ZkUeODTgX
— WKRG (@WKRG) December 18, 2018
Colborn played an essential role in Making a Murderer season one, especially in Episode Five when the show portrayed his testimony about a phone call he made to his dispatcher before the discovery of Teresa Halbach’s car on Avery’s property.
In the recording of the phone call, Colborn requests that dispatch run a license plate number, and once he gets a hit for Halbach who was listed as a missing person, Colborn instantly responds by saying, “Ninety-Nine Toyota?” In Avery’s trial, his lawyer Dean Strang asked Colborn about the call, suggesting his answer made it appear that he was looking at Halbach’s car then, but it actually wasn’t discovered for two more days.
Colborn’s lawsuit argues the way Colborn’s testimony is displayed in the hit docuseries, asserting that Strang’s suggestion that Colborn was looking at the car was objected to and sustained by the judge in court. It also argues that in the show, they make it seem like Colborn says “Yes” in response to Strang’s assertion, but the clip was actually taken from Colborn’s response to a later question when he was asked about running frequent license plate checks.
“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 case reads. “The impression is false and gave to viewers the exact opposite impression of what plaintiff was asked and how he responded at trial.”