'Making a Murderer': Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey prison emails released after 5 months

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Steven Avery's Former Attorneys Speak Out After 'Making a Murderer'

New emails released from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections show that prison officials feared for Steven Avery's safety and that he and Brendan Dassey received donations in the wake of Netflix's "Making a Murderer."

USA Today Network's Post-Crescent obtained more than 1,900 pages of emails last week after the publication requested the documents under state opens records laws on January 26. The paper asked for emails sent or received by staff that pertained to Avery, Dassey or "Making a Murderer."

The emails reveal several details about the prisoners' lives.

An email by corrections employee Donald Strahota on Jan. 10 read that officials "offered [Avery] the opportunity to change housing and possibly a cell by the staff desk. He declined. We also discussed the possibility of moving to another institution and he didn't think it was necessary."

This came after Department of Corrections Secretary Ed Wall was concerned that Avery would be harmed if "someone seeks their own 15 minutes of fame by doing something to him" after "Making a Murderer" began streaming on Netflix on Dec. 18.

In March, USA Today reported that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections was dragging its feet on releasing the emails. Journalists agreed to pay $220.60 for PDF copies of the communications sent or received by prison officials regarding the Netflix docu-series. USA Today said in March that no date had been provided for the release, and the state law's only requirement was that agencies were to release the documents "as soon as practicable and without delay."

"Making a Murderer" chronicled the trial and ultimately the conviction of Avery and Dassey in the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. The Netflix series spawned many to question whether Avery and Dassey were guilty and the way the case was handled by Wisconsin police.

USA Today also requested records that indicated limitations "of inmate access to news" because Avery and Dassey had not been available for comment regarding the series. Now, emails revealed that Bill Pollard, former warden of the Waupun prison where Avery is being held, rejected a TV station's request to interview Avery, calling Teresa Halbach "Jessica Halbach."

"I am not inclined to participate in adding any credibility or inmate perspective on a case that has already been tried," he wrote Dec. 30. "Nor do I think we should participate or authorize this which could victimize the family of Jessica Halbach by allow (sic) such an interview. Money has already been coming in from all over for him due to the notoriety and I do not think is (sic) a good idea to make it any bigger deal than it actually is.

Pollard allegedly also denied Avery's request to watch the series. No media requests have been granted to date. Pollard is no longer warden of the prison.

"Let's not be part of sensationalizing this case," Pollard wrote to Waupun prison staff Jan. 7. "This was a court decision and that conviction is what placed him here, we don't dictate to the courts how to do their business."

The emails also revealed that Avery and Dassey received wire transfers ranging from $10 to $50 from around the world. A Jan. 5 email by a staffer said that a $10 transfer wasn't denied because Dassey "is not engaging in an enterprise or business."

The email communication stretched from Dec. 18, the day the documentary was released, until the end of January.

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.

Check out more from "Making a Murderer" in the gallery below.

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Steven Avery's trial from "Making a Murderer"
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Steven Avery's trial from "Making a Murderer"
Steven Avery looks around a courtroom in the Calumet County Courthouse before the verdict was read in his trial, March 18, 2007, in Chilton, Wis. Avery was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide in the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Avery, who spent 18 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit only to be convicted of committing a murder 3½ years after he left prison, said Tuesday, April 17, 2007, he is confident he will again be exonerated. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps, Pool, File)
This March 2007 file photo shows Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz giving his closing argument in the Steven Avery trial in the courtroom in Chilton, Wis. Police say Kratz sent repeated text messages trying to spark an affair with a domestic abuse victim while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
Karen Halbach, mother of Teresa Halbach, listens Tuesday, April 24, 2007, to testimony in the Brendan Dassey trial in Manitowoc, Wis. Dassey, 17, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and first-degree sexual assault in the death of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach on Oct. 31, 2005. His uncle, Steven Avery, 44, was convicted last month in Halbach's murder and is to be sentenced to mandatory life in prison in June. (AP Photo/Bruce Halmo, Pool)
Karen Halbach talks to the jury about her slain daughter, Teresa Halbach, during the trial of Brendan Dassey, Monday, April 16, 2007, at the Manitowoc County Courthouse in Manitowoc, Wis. Dassey, 17, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and first-degree sexual assault in the death of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach on Oct. 31, 2005. His uncle, Steven Avery, 44, was found guilty of her murder last month. (AP Photo/Dan Powers, Pool)
Tom Halbach, father of Teresa Halbach waits in the courtroom for the verdict in the Steven Avery Trial Calumet County Courthouse Sunday, March 18, 2007, in Chilton, Wis. Avery was found guilty of first degree intentional homicide in the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, 25, on Oct. 31, 2005 near the family's auto salvage lot in rural Manitowoc County. (AP Photo/Patrick Ferron, Pool)
Sgt. Mark Wiegert with the Calumet Sheriff Department, testifies during Steven Avery's trial on Wednesday, March 7, 2007, at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton, Wis. Avery, 44, and his 17-year-old nephew are accused of murdering 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach and burning her body on Halloween 2005. The nephew, Brendan Dassey, is scheduled for trial in April. (AP Photo/Evan Siegle, Pool)
Steven Avery's attorney Dean Strang points to a photo showing a CD case that contained blood stains in Teresa Halbach's vehicle while questioning Nick Stahlke, a blood spatter expert with the Wisconsin Crime Laboratory during testimony in Avery's murder trial Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007, in Chilton, Wis. Avery is accused of killing Teresa Halbach, 25, after she went to the family's rural salvage lot to photograph a minivan they had for sale. (AP Photo/Bruce Halmo, Pool)
Blaine Dassey, Steven Avery's nephew and the brother of Brendan Dassey testifies Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007, during Avery's murder trial in Chilton, Wis. Avery is accused of killing Teresa Halbach, 25, after she went to the family's rural salvage lot to photograph a minivan they had for sale. (AP Photo/Bruce Halmo, Pool)
Manitowoc County Circuit Judge Patrick Willis listens to Steven Avery's attorney Dean Strang argue a point during Avery's murder trial Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007, in Chilton, Wis. Avery is accused, along with his 17-year-old nephew, of killing Teresa Halbach, 25, after she went to the family's rural salvage lot to photograph a minivan they had for sale. (AP Photo/Bruce Halmo, Pool)
Marc LeBeau, unit chief of the FBI's chemistry unit, testifies in the Steven Avery homicide trial Monday, March 5, 2007, at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton, Wis. Avery is accused, along with his 17-year-old nephew, of killing Teresa Halbach, 25, after she went to the family's rural salvage lot to photograph a minivan they had for sale. (AP Photo/Mike De Sisti, Pool)
Steven Avery, left, exits the courtroom after closing arguments in his trial, Thursday, March 15, 2007 at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton, Wis. Avery is accused, along with his 17-year-old nephew, of killing Teresa Halbach, 25, after she went to the family's rural salvage lot to photograph a minivan they had for sale. (AP Photo/Dwight Nale, Pool)
Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz answers a question after the murder trial of Steven Avery Sunday, March 18, 2007, in Chilton, Wis. Avery was found guilty of first degree intentional homicide in the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, 25, on Oct. 31, 2005 near the family's auto salvage lot in rural Manitowoc County. (AP Photo/Jeff Phelps, Pool)
The hands of Tom Halbach, father of Teresa Halbach, are shown as he waits for the verdict in the Steven Avery murder trial in the Calumet County Courthouse Sunday, March 18, 2007, in Chilton, Wis. Avery was found guilty of first degree intentional homicide in the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, 25, on Oct. 31, 2005 near the family's auto salvage lot in rural Manitowoc County. (AP Photo/Patrick Ferron, Pool)
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