Emotional hearing in threats against prosecutor, others
Royal Oak — A medical marijuana doctor charged with making Internet threats to kill county prosecutors, a retired judge and others with an assault rifle openly wept at the sight of his parents in the courtroom Tuesday.
Dr. Kumar A. Singh, 47, of Royal Oak — who has operated his Greenlite Clinic on Maple in Troy since 2009 — was visibly shaken at seeing his sobbing parents and an ex-girlfriend comforting each other in the front row of Royal Oak 44th District Judge Jamie Wittenberg’s courtroom.
Singh, dressed in an orange county jail jumpsuit, initially flashed a smile and gave the three a handcuffed wave but quickly became overcome. After a brief hearing, he was escorted back to jail where he is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.
Singh appeared before Wittenberg for a probable cause hearing on 22 offenses of terrorism, use of the internet to make the threats and ethnic intimidation, the majority felonies which carry up to 20 years in prison. Singh is also charged with violating conditions of his probation on a July offense in which he fired a rifle in his apartment. Wittenberg adjourned both hearings until Oct. 4 after Singh’s attorney, Matthew Abel, unexpectedly withdrew from representing his client.
“The volume of work that is increasing after the governor signed the medical marijuana bill makes it difficult to do a competent job and also defend Dr. Singh,” explained Abel, whose Cannabis Counsel law firm specializes in marijuana cases.
When Wittenberg asked Singh if he planned to hire another attorney, a seemingly embarrassed Singh responded: “I can’t afford one.” Wittenberg said he would have an attorney appointed for Singh before next week’s hearing.
Singh was arrested by Royal Oak police after several people complained he posted threats against them and their families beginning Sept. 10.
The case is being handled by the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office after Cooper recused her office and staff from the matter. Genesee County Assistant Prosecutor Karen Hanson asked Wittenberg to issue a no-contact order to Singh from trying to get in touch with Lesley Aren, who was present in court and identified herself as Singh’s “on and off” girlfriend over the past six years.
Hanson said Aren may be called as a witness in the case but she did not elaborate.
Aren and the Singh’s relatives left the courthouse and declined to be interviewed.
“It’s an interesting case,” Abel said outside the courthouse. “He (Singh) maintains his innocence and it seems the prosecution is aggressively pursuing the allegations.”
Abel identified Singh as an Indian-American and a Hindu and said among items seized from Singh’s Royal Oak apartment by investigators was $15,750 in cash which Abel believes has nothing to do with the offenses and “may have been taken illegally.”
“They also searched his storage facility recently and I’m not certain what they are looking for but all they found was medical records,” Abel said.
John Potbury, an assistant Genesee County prosecutor who is also the spokesperson for the office, said Singh was allegedly angry at several people he felt “severely tarnished his reputation” during a 2013 criminal case in which he was called to testify.
Potbury did not disclose what was found during a search of Singh’s apartment other than “evidence found that indicates he had the ability to carry out the threats.”
An AR-15 assault rifle was found in Singh’s apartment July 15 after an incident in which a neighbor reported hearing gunfire. Abel said the weapon accidentally discharged while Singh was cleaning it. Singh pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of discharge of a firearm on Sept. 7, paid a $885 fine and was placed on one year’s probation.