A college wrestler who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for infecting a sexual partner with HIV has been granted a new trial.
As BuzzFeed News reports, Michael Johnson was sentenced to three decades behind bars last year for “recklessly” infecting one of his sexual partners with HIV.
Johnson, who went by the username “Tiger Mandingo” on social media, first started making headlines about three years ago, when he was accused of infecting another man with HIV.
His alleged victim claims Johnson had always maintained that he was “clean” when they had sex without a condom, until he finally got tested.
“He calls me and he said, ‘I found out I have a disease.’ And I asked, ‘Is there a cure?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’ And I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ I got pissed. I had asked him several times, and he’d said he was clean, and I trusted him! And I got mad at him, and then he got mad at me for getting mad, and then he said, ‘I gotta go,’” the unnamed man told BuzzFeed back in 2014.
On October 10, 2013, Johnson was pulled out of class at Lindenwood University and taken away in handcuffs by the St. Charles police.
He was later charged with one count of “recklessly infecting another with HIV” and four counts of “attempting to recklessly infect another with HIV.”
Although he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, Johnson was sentenced to 30 years in prison last year.
Now, the Missouri Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for Johnson after it was discovered that prosecutors withheld until the last minute recordings of phone conversations Johnson had made from prison.
The prosecutors reportedly did so deliberately “to gain a strategic advantage” over Johnson’s defense team.
“If we disclose [the recordings] to the defense, they’ll tell their client. And I’m not impugning anyone’s integrity, I’d do the same thing: Hey, they’re listening to your conversations, shut up. So we don’t disclose them until toward the end,” the court quoted an unnamed prosecutor.