The True Story Behind Netflix’s Nisman: The Prosecutor, The President & The Spy

Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty.
Netflix’s new documentary series Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President, and the Spy dives deep into one of Argentina’s most tragic and complex modern crime stories.
The series centers on Alberto Nisman, a former Argentine prosecutor who led a years-long investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Nisman’s own role in the case would end violently, however, with his sudden and mysterious death in 2015 following shocking revelations of terrorism and accusations of presidential corruption.
Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President, and the Spy debuts on Netflix in early January. Ahead of the series’ meticulous retelling of Nisman’s story, here’s a quick overview of what we know.
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Netflix’s new documentary series Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President, and the Spy dives deep into one of Argentina’s most tragic and complex modern crime stories.
The series centers on Alberto Nisman, a former Argentine prosecutor who led a years-long investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Nisman’s own role in the case would end violently, however, with his sudden and mysterious death in 2015 following shocking revelations of terrorism and accusations of presidential corruption.
Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President, and the Spy debuts on Netflix in early January. Ahead of the series’ meticulous retelling of Nisman’s story, here’s a quick overview of what we know.

What was Nisman investigating? 

In 1994, 85 people died in a bombing at the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, or AMIA. The attack on the Buenos Aires Jewish community center was the largest terrorist attack in the Western hemisphere until 9/11. Nisman was assigned to look into the bombing, and his investigation would span about a decade.

What did Nisman find?

Here’s where we get to the first in a series of plot twists. In 2006, Nisman said he found that several government officials from Iran, including the former president and foreign minister, had masterminded the attack. He indicted seven Iranian officials and a senior leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to The New Yorker
But in the following years, Nisman began to look into the Argentine government. That investigation led him to the office of then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (she succeeded her husband, Néstor Kirchner, who had appointed Nisman to lead the AMIA investigation). In 2015, Nisman formally accused Kirchner of a cover-up, according to The New York Times. According to a criminal complaint filed by Nisman, Kirchner agreed to absolve the officials accused of planning and directing the AMIA bombing. Argentina, then in the midst of an energy crisis, would receive oil from Iran in exchange for the deal. The Kirchner administration denied the accusations, telling the Times that they “have no foundation.”
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How did Nisman die?

Nisman was found dead in a locked hotel room within a week after his accusations against Kirchner went public, The New York Times reports. He was scheduled to testify before lawmakers the day after his body was found. The cause of death was a bullet wound to the head; a .22 caliber gun was found near Nisman, but there was no suicide note. 
The mystery of Nisman’s death gripped Argentina and the world, with opposing factions arguing that he either died by suicide or that he was murdered. Officials at the time determined Nisman likely killed himself, according to the Associated Press, but a 2017 report from Argentina’s border police agency directly contradicted those findings, concluding that Nisman was actually murdered. 
As seen in Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President, and the Spy, the controversy continues. Speaking to Variety, director Justin Webster said the audience will be given the context to draw their own conclusions. 
“[The series’] thrust is to reach some more clarity on a subject that is so difficult, and so complex,” Webster said. “As often happens, in lots of cases...People have strong opinions about it, but they don’t really know the whole story.”
Nisman: The Prosecutor, the President, and the Spy premieres January 1, 2020 on Netflix.
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