You may remember Andrew Colborn as the squirrelly character with spectacles and a Johnny Unitas haircut who looked like he had a whole closet of skeletons to hide when he took the stand to help convict Steven Avery of murder in the hit docu-series Making a Murderer.
In the series, the now retired Wisconsin sheriff’s detective was portrayed as a cog in a larger conspiracy to pin the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach on the mentally-limited Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey. It was almost impossible to view Colborn as anything other than stupid or malicious, as the series speculated that the detective planted evidence to frame the two for the crime.
Exactly three years after the first episode aired in December 2015, news has broken the Colborn is fighting back against the claims, suing Netflix for defamation.
Via Rolling Stone:
The suit, filed in Manitowoc County Circuit Court in Wisconsin, alleges that the series and its filmmakers “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 succesful… sacrificing and defining [Colborn’s] character and reputation in the process.”
Along with Netflix, Making a Murderer directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos are named as defendants, along with Netflix executives Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo andeditor Mary Manhardt.
Colborn’s most egregious contribution to the series came in episode five when he was quizzed about a phone call he made to his dispatcher prior to the discovery of Halbach’s car on Avery’s property.
In the recording of the call, Colborn asks the dispatcher to run a license plate number, and after getting a confirmation that it was a Halbach, who was listed as a missing person at the time, he immediately replies, “Ninety-nine Toyota?” Avery’s lawyers attempted to run with the narrative that Colborn’s quick response identifying the year and make of the car indicated that he was looking at the car at that moment, although it would not be officially discovered for two days after.
In the suit, Colborn alleges that the way this went down was embellished. Avery’s lawyers’ suggestion that Colborn was looking at the car was objected to and sustained by the judge and that Colborn’s “Yes” response to Strang’s suggestion was actually taken from Colborn’s response to a another question about running routine 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 suit reads. “The impression is false and gave to viewers the exact opposite impression of what plaintiff was asked and how he responded at trial.”
Colborn gave me the heeby jeebiez during the season, but he has every right to be pissed if the documentarians explicitly made the entire world hate him.
[h/t Rolling Stone]