WINCHESTER, Kentucky: The US citizen accused of leaking details of 14,200 HIV-positive people from Singapore's HIV registry appeared briefly in a Kentucky courtroom on Monday (Feb 18) on trespassing charges, telling the judge he believes the Singapore Government may be interfering in the case.
Mikhy Farrera Brochez, 34, arrived without an attorney at a Clark County District Court in Winchester, Kentucky, where he had been arrested in December and charged with third-degree criminal trespassing for refusing to leave his mother’s home.
Judge Charles Hardin delayed the case until Mar 4 at the arresting officer’s request, noting that Brochez had pleaded not guilty and the charges carried no possibility of jail time. The judge told Brochez he did not know anything about his allegation of interference.
Outside the courtroom before the hearing, Brochez did not directly address a reporter's question on whether he leaked information from Singapore's HIV registry. But he recently told Vice News that he shared the data with government and media sources and that the information had already been exposed.
Brochez repeated claims on Monday that he contracted HIV only after "they had me gang-raped in prison". Singapore authorities have said his allegations are "blatantly false”.
Asked about those potentially hurt by the leak, he said: “I was thrown in prison for something I didn’t do. And I was held down and gang-raped by your government. And you want to talk to me about someone’s feelings? Do you have any idea what I’m going through right now?”
Brochez stood during the hearing in a plaid button-down shirt before the judge. He said his mother wanted to drop the case, and that it was causing hardship by interfering with his ability to work. Judge Hardin said his mother did not have the right to dismiss it and continued it for two weeks.
His mother, Ms Teresa King, was not present and could not be reached.
It was at Ms King’s house near Winchester where Brochez was arrested in December after he refused to leave, three months after police responded to a similar call and he was warned to stay away.
“This deputy informed the suspect about the past warning and the suspect was instructed to leave numerous times but the suspect kept wanting to ask about the property that T. King had of his and wanting to talk to the sheriff,” according to an arrest report.
After the hearing, Brochez declined to answer questions. He was accompanied by the sheriff’s deputies outside, climbing into a white Mercedes SUV and driven away. Court documents listed his home address in Lexington, Kentucky.
Brochez, who had worked in Singapore as a psychology lecturer, was sentenced in 2017 to 28 months in jail on drug and fraud charges, including for using a fake blood test to lie about his HIV-positive status and gain an employment pass.
His partner, Singaporean doctor Ler Teck Siang, had access to the HIV registry as part of his work as the former head of the National Public Health Unit. The pair started living together in Singapore in 2008, and were married in New York City in 2014.
Singapore's Health Ministry announced on Jan 28 that Brochez, who was deported last April, had leaked online information from Singapore’s HIV registry. That included names, phone numbers, addresses, test results and medical information.
He is now wanted in connection with the data leak that includes 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners, including work and visit pass applicants and holders, diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to December 2011.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in Parliament recently that the Singapore police will “spare no effort” in bringing Brochez to justice and that they are "engaging their American counterparts and are seeking their assistance in the investigations against Brochez".
The US Embassy in Singapore has previously declined comment.
Investigators say Brochez also forged his degrees including a doctorate from the University of Paris to a US teaching certification. In 2010 he had told a local newspaper that his mother was a renowned professor of child and adolescent psychology in the UK.