'Making a Murderer': Steven Avery's Trial Attorneys Respond to Criticism

CBS This Morning
Dean Strang (left) and Jerry Buting appearing on 'CBS This Morning'.

"I think his best hope lies in newly discovered evidence."

Defense attorneys Jerry Buting and Dean Strang are still in their former client's corner. 

The lawyers — made famous overnight by Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, which premiered last month — have made numerous media appearances since that time to talk about the wildly popular series. 

On Friday, the duo appeared on CBS This Morning to address critics, including law enforcement, who said major evidence which proved Steven Avery's guilt was left out of the Netflix series. 

"The movie gives a very lavish, three hours plus to one trial that went over 200 hours," Strang said on the show. "If the prosecutor and the police are really secure in the convictions they obtained, I'd wonder why they sounded so insecure about a movie that necessarily couldn't run 200 hours."

Avery served 18 years in prison for a sexual assault conviction out of Manitowoc County, Wis., for which he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003. Then in 2005, Avery was convicted of the murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also convicted for the same murder. Dassey's lawyers argued his confession to authorities was coerced.

Buting called accusations that evidence was left out of the series to make Avery appear innocent "nonsense." 

"The state is now trying to make that a lot of these pieces that weren't in the movie more sinister than they really were," Buting said.

One of the retorts to the series came from Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Hermann, who told The Hollywood Reporter Avery's sweat, not blood, was found on the key belonging to the victim's car, found in Avery's home. 

Although not in the series, prosecutors also argued Avery's sweat DNA was found under the hood of the victim's car.

Buting contends there is no such thing as "sweat DNA or perspiration DNA." 

"There's just DNA. Where it comes from, they can't tell," Buting said. 

When asked straight up if they were convinced of Avery's innocence, Strang said: "I am not convinced of his guilt. I am not at all convinced of his guilt, never have been."

When the hosts asked if he had some doubt of Avery's innocence, Strang replied "absolutely," adding "if it was OK to convict people on maybes, I wouldn't be worried about this, but it's not."

The duo reiterated that evidence was planted. 

In the series, the pair argued their client was framed by county law enforcement for the Halbach murder. They two did not accuse law enforcement of killing Halbach, but argued that officers believed so strongly that he carried out the slaying, they planted evidence in order to ensure a conviction.

As for any good news in Avery's future, Strang said, "I think his best hope lies in newly discovered evidence."

Buting said he has received numerous calls from scientists the world over, telling him that DNA testing has greatly improved since the early 2000s and the blood which the two lawyers argued was planted should be retested.

Avery recently filed an appeal to have his conviction thrown out, claiming his jury was tainted and evidence used against him was mishandled by law enforcement. 

Watch the segment here.

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