Michael Johnson "Tiger Mandingo" could get a new trial due to foolishness from prosecutors withholding evidence from Johnson’s attorneys “to gain a strategic advantage.” Michael Johnson was sentenced to 30 years for infecting a sexual partner with HIV. Even though, the guy was barebacking like crazy, but I won't get into that right now.
Excoriating prosecutors for deliberately withholding evidence, a court of appeals has ordered a new trial for Michael Johnson, better known as Tiger Mandingo, who was convicted last year for “recklessly” infecting a person with HIV and exposing or attempting to expose four others.
The Missouri Court of Appeals found that prosecutors withheld until the last minute recordings of phone conversations Johnson had made from prison — and that they did so deliberately “to gain a strategic advantage” over Johnson’s defense attorneys. The court quoted an unnamed prosecutor stating, “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.”
Withholding evidence is a serious breach of prosecutorial ethics. The court found that prosecutors had waited to disclose the recordings until, effectively, the morning the trial began, depriving Johnson’s attorneys of time to plan an adequate defense. A spokesperson for the prosecution did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Laws that penalize HIV-positive people for having sex without disclosing they have the virus are controversial, and the penalties can be severe. Johnson was sentenced to 30 years in prison.