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Day 2 of Michael Johnson Trial: Opening Statement and Initial Testimony

May 12, 2015

Aaron Laxton is covering the HIV criminalization trial of Michael Johnson in Missouri. Johnson, who was a college wrestler at the time of his arrest, faces felony charges in Missouri for allegedly not disclosing his HIV status to sexual partners. Aaron will be live tweeting from the courtroom using the hashtag #MichaelJohnson. The Counter Narrative has provided this list of ways to support Johnson during his trial. Read Part 1 of Aaron's coverage.

Jurors today heard opening statements from the prosecuting attorney. The State alleges that Johnson exposed 2 to HIV without their knowledge and that they subsequently became infected. The State also alleges that Johnson attempted to expose or exposed 4 others without telling them that he was HIV positive.

The Defense deferred opening statements.

First up the State called the nurse practitioner who treated and counseled Johnson at Lindenwood University (LU). She testified that she had treated Johnson 3-4 times for various STDs and that he had tested positive for HIV. She also testified that she never treated him for HIV, that that was what linkage to care was for.


Frank Lydon testified as the investigator who counseled Johnson for the STDs. He also testified that Johnson had previously tested positive for HIV in 2011 in Indiana. Lydon testified about counseling Johnson on various occasions about sexual partners.

Accuser 1: A student currently enrolled in LU testified that he had sexual contact with Johnson at his dorm room. He testified that the first instance was oral sex after which he had anal receptive sex with Johnson. He testified that about 4-5 mins into sex he stopped and had Johnson put a condom on. Later that evening he asked Johnson about STDs and Johnson responded that he was "clean" and that even if he wasn't he wouldn't "do that to him." The accuser testified that since the situation he has been tested approximately 10 times, all of which have been negative.

In the afternoon the first witness was the St. Charles City Detective.

The final witness of the day was an accuser who was allegedly infected by Johnson. He testified that Johnson was the first person he had sex with after a year. He said he had met Johnson via the phone app "Jacked." He testified that he is currently on HIV medications and he spoke about the side effects of those medications which he says he will be on for the remainder of his life. The accuser also testified that he was also infected with gonorrhea and this is believed to be from Johnson.

Court recessed until 9 am on Wednesday when the state will present more of its case starting with another accuser.

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On Uplifting Voices, Social Justice and Listening to HIV Criminalization Accusers
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Views on the Trial and Conviction of Michael Johnson, a Black Life That Matters
Michael Johnson Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for HIV Transmission, Exposure

This article was provided by TheBody.


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My HIV Journey

Aaron Laxton

Aaron Laxton

I am simply a guy who on June 6, 2011, received the news that over 33 million people have received: I am HIV positive. I decided in that split moment to record the journey that I was embarking on so that I might help others as they receive that news.

I am not a doctor and I do not endorse any agenda other than simply living a healthy life. I am an activist and advocate and simply want to make the world a better place. I hold a degree in sociology and psychology. I am a product of the Missouri Foster System and this is one of my main passions, second only to the work I do with HIV/AIDS outreach and prevention.

I embrace a sex-positive model. People are going to have sex; it is a natural part of who we are. However we need to make sure that it is safe. I can be found on weekends throughout St. Louis, Missouri, passing out condoms and safe-sex kits.

I am now an M.S.W. student at Saint Louis University's College of Public Health and Social Justice and the School of Social Work.

Whether in St. Louis, D.C. or around the nation, I always jump at the chance to help change not only policies to better serve those that need help but to also change the landscape of the society that we live in.

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