Oh gurl! Michael Johnson, who goes by Tiger Mandingo, gotten his trial overturned after prosecutors withheld evidence of his phone calls made from jail from defense attorney until the morning of the first day of trial.
Last year, Johnson was sentenced to 30 years by St. Charles County Circuit Judge Jon Cunningham after he was found guilty of recklessly infecting a partner with HIV and exposing four others to the virus. He was also expelled from Lindenwood, where he was a wrestler for the school, in 2013 after his involvement in the case.
The Eastern District Court of Appeals of Missouri ruled on Tuesday that the trial was “fundamentally unfair” when phone records of Johnson’s conversation from prison was withheld by prosecutors. The 30-year sentence is one of the highest-publicized targets in America’s HIV laws.
According to BuzzFeed News, prosecutors asked would-be jurors if being gay was a “choice,” and evidence presented to the court included graphic descriptions of Johnson’s “huge” penis — and even images of it. Mind you that all of Johnson’s sex partners were white. Now, that right there should be a bell-ringer that they were trying to set him up for the kill. Here’s some more tea about where this trial was absolutely a set up:
“They all said he didn’t, but he insisted that he did. In one of the prison phone recordings, however, Johnson said he was only “pretty sure” he had let his partners know. That statement was crucial, the appeals court noted, because it was “the only evidence in the record of Johnson stating to anyone that he was not certain about whether he disclosed his HIV status to his sexual partners.”
After Johnson was found guilty, he made an appeal because the trial was unfair when the prosecutors held back information from the defense attorney about his phone records made from prison and his long-term sentence was disproportionate to the crime that it violated the constitutional ban of cruel and unusual punishment. All of this makes so much sense because from the looks of it, it seems like they were trying to revoke another black gay man’s freedom.
His coverage made national news because advocates of the gay rights movement and legal reform groups say that HIV criminalization is outdated. What’s so shady about this trial is that prosecutors think that he deserved this type of punishment. All of his sex partners, which were white, said that he lied about his HIV status. Johnson said that he told his partners before he had sex with them that he was HIV positive, which is required by law. Since the truth is out and his trial has been overturned, I think they should at least make some accommodations of at releasing from prison early on probation and throwing those barebacking Grindr queens on bail for giving false information.