Manitowoc Co. investigator suing Netflix, filmmakers for portrayal in 'Making A Murderer'

    Steven Avery (AP photo)

    MANITOWOC (WLUK) – A retired Manitowoc County Sheriff’s investigator is upset with how he is portrayed in the “Making A Murderer” series about the murder of Teresa Halbach and has filed a defamation lawsuit against the series’ creators.

    Lt. Andrew Colborn filed the 18-page lawsuit Monday against Laura Ricciardi, Moira Demos, Netflix, and others.

    According to the lawsuit:

    “Overwhelming physical and circumstantial evidence proves that Steven Avery and his sixteen year old nephew, Brendan Dassey, were the perpetrators of the crime. Neither plaintiff nor any other law enforcement officer planted evidence or in any other way attempted to frame Avery or Dassey for Halbach’s murder. Separate juries returned guilty verdicts against each of them in 2007, and their convictions remain unreversed after numerous appeals,” it states.

    “Pertinent and significant aspects of MAM are not true as represented and are, instead, false and defamatory toward plaintiff and others. Material and significant facts known to the defendants were omitted and distorted. Despite overwhelming evidence proving Avery and Dassey’s guilt and the utter absence of evidence supporting defendant’s accusations of police misconduct, defendants falsely led viewers to the inescapable conclusion that plaintiff 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 plaintiff 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, sacrificing and defaming the plaintiff’s character and reputation in the process,” it adds.

    The suit claims the filmmakers acted with “actual malice” to omit facts and evidence “part of their effort to lead viewers to falsely conclude that plaintiff and others framed Avery for Halbach’s murder,” it claims.

    The suit does not request any specific monetary damages but “demands retraction and honest clarification of the erroneous and false statements and depictions described above to clear his good name and restore peace of mind; plaintiff further demands judgment against defendants, separately and severally, for their tortious acts of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence as stated above.”

    Once served, the defendants have 45 days to formally respond to the suit.

    Colborn and his attorney did not make themselves available to answer questions about the lawsuit.

    Fox 11 reached out to Netflix, who did not have a comment.

    No hearings have been scheduled.

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