Kathleen Zellner fired back at users of the social media site Reddit on Saturday, two days after she issued the $10,000 Steven Avery Proof of Guilt Challenge.
Her comments were in response to several threads on the popular site that accused the lawyer of issuing the challenge as a publicity stunt in her bid to exonerate Avery. Subscribers to the Reddit group, StevenAveryIsGuilty, have been especially concerned with Zellner's rule that a driver's license must be provided with answers to the 100 contest questions. One user submitted an off-the-cuff attempt on the site, but did not submit a photo ID or follow Zellner's other conditions.
"Our offer is very clear: The author of any submission must identify themselves with a driver's license," the lawyer told the Inquisitr. "The answers must cite to trial exhibits, evidence or prosecution theories that were presented at trial."
Zellner said while she expects official submissions to be rooted in what's already on the record, she would accept video reenactments if they are fully doxed, which proposes a problem for Redditors because revealing personal information of other users goes against the site's policy. That shouldn't keep anyone from stepping away from the veil though, she said.
"What is not acceptable are the anonymous explanations on Reddit that were never presented by the prosecution at Mr. Avery's trial," Zellner continued. "These theories would never be admissible at a new trial because they are based on pure speculation by anonymous individuals."In other words, her reason for throwing out a gauntlet is simple. The attorney with 18 exonerations to her credit says her 1,272-page motion was based on experiments conducted by experts using evidence presented at Avery's 2007 trial: the blood, bones, bullets, key, and electronic components. She believes she will prove they were planted based on dozens of discrepancies former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz presented at trial. The challenge, she said, is an opportunity for someone to play by the same rules, credibly explain the dissemblance and satisfactorily show Avery's guilt. And there's $10,000 in it for anyone who does.
"So far not a single person has followed the specific instructions in the offer," she said. "If these Reddit claims are credible and based on evidence or theories presented by the prosecution at trial the author should have no problem identifying themselves. All of the Reddit chatter and theories so far were never presented by the prosecution and are being concocted by individuals who have never been required to reveal their identities so that we can assess their credentials if any."And there are plenty of Redditors on both sides of the debate. In the "truther" camp, a laundry list of theories exist about who truly killed Teresa Halbach on October 31, 2005. Some claim a random killer committed the crime, while others are sure the photographer was sacrificed by dirty cops and court officials to put Avery away for suing Manitowoc County for $36 million. On the "guilter" side of the often-ugly debate, Avery and Brendan Dassey are right where they belong, and that Zellner is in it for herself. Several Redditors stand staunchly by that claim.
"Ms. Zellner, we have actually spent time engaging your recent brief as well as the questions in your 'contest,'" a StevenAveryIsGuilty admin posted. "You seem to think that continuing to taunt us on twitter as if we have not responded will turn into 'the truth' if you keep doing it."
She is not taunting anyone, Zellner says.
"The whole point of the challenge was to call the bluff of these anonymous 'experts' and so far, it has done just that," she said. "None of them want to reveal their identities or credentials but they want the right to proclaim that Mr. Avery is guilty. We want them to lay their cards -- and identities -- on the table. No takers so far. Remember in order to vacate Mr. Avery's verdict we need to present evidence that undermines confidence in his verdict."
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