Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” true-crime documentary series was a smash hit, leading millions to believe that Steven Avery was not guilty of murdering Teresa Halbach.
Following the series’ popularity, however, one of the investigators who worked on the case – and who was portrayed negatively in the documentary – filed a defamation lawsuit against the streaming service, arguing that “the presentation in the two series was biased and falsely depicts him as having framed Avery for the Halbach murder.” Andrew Colborn, who helped investigate Halbach’s murder, filed the defamation lawsuit against Netflix.
Fox 11 reported that a federal judge has denied a request from the producers of the documentary series to have the lawsuit dismissed, with Judge Brett Ludwig took Netflix to task for trying to force Colborn to provide discovery information before the proper stage.
“As this Court has already ruled in denying Netflix’s first motion to dismiss and in rejecting Netflix’s opposition to Colborn’s motion for leave to file the Second Amended Complaint, his latest pleading adequately and plausibly pleads these elements, including actual malice Having failed to convince the Court of the inadequacy of Colborn’s allegations, Netflix shifts gears and offers a series of arguments for rejecting Colborn’s claims as a matter of law. These latest contentions fail foremost because they are rife with factual assertions and would require the Court to make inferences (if not flat-out factual findings) in Netflix’s favor, turning the motion to dismiss standard on its head,” the ruling states,” Ludwig wrote.
“Whether Colborn can muster sufficient evidence for a jury to find that Netflix and the other defendants defamed him with ‘actual malice’ remains to be seen. But until the summary judgment record is complete, it would be improper for the Court to resolve this issue,” the judge added.
As Fox 11 reported, there are no hearings scheduled for the case and the next movement will be from Netflix when it responds to Colborn’s amended complaint.
“Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, continue to serve life in prison terms for their convictions. Dassey has no appeals pending, while Avery has motions pending before a circuit court judge, seeking a new trial,” the outlet reported.
Though the Netflix series cast serious doubt on whether Avery was guilty of Halbach’s murder, in 2016, The Federalist’s David Harsanyi reported on information that was left out of the documentary that suggests Avery was actually guilty of the crime. Harsanyi listed numerous pieces of evidence that point toward Avery’s guilt:
- Parts of Halbach’s body were found burned in Avery’s fire pit.
- Evidence of Avery’s involvement was found inside his home.
- There is DNA evidence tying the bullet found in the Avery garage to Halbach.
- Avery was the last known person to see Halbach alive.
- Police found her car, with blood on it and in it, left on the Avery family’s lot.
- Avery’s high-school age nephew, Brendan Dassey, confessed that he had assisted his uncle in murder of Halbach. [Harsanyi acknowledged the police acted inappropriately while “questioning” Dassey.]
Harsanyi also listed information that wasn’t included in the Netflix series, including a bullet linked to both Halbach’s DNA and Avery’s gun. The infamous car keys found in Avery’s residence also contained his sweat, so the idea the police planted them seemed implausible. Harsanyi also reported that Avery used a fake name the day he requested Halbach to take photos. None of the information Harsanyi posted proves Avery’s guilt, but it helps paint a different picture than what the Netflix producers presented.
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