No Angels star pleads guilty to unprotected HIV sex charge
German pop star Nadja Benaissa was accused in court Monday of causing "great suffering" to a man with whom she allegedly had unprotected sex, in the knowledge that she was HIV-positive, dpa reported
"My quality of life has been severely limited," testified the 34-year-old co-accuser, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who alleges that the 28-year-old singer infected him with the virus which causes AIDS.
At the start of the trial, Benaissa pleaded guilty to causing dangerous bodily harm by knowingly having unprotected sex despite being HIV positive.
"But I am truly sorry," Benaissa testified between tears on the opening day of her trial, admitting that she had tried to ignore her HIV-positive status.
The 28-year-old singer, of the pop group No Angels, is charged with one count of dangerous bodily harm and four counts of attempted dangerous bodily harm, dating from between 2000 and 2004. She faces prison sentences of between six months and 10 years if found guilty.
Benaissa told the court she had simply "lost control" of her life at the time.
"I was overwhelmed with the success of No Angels," she said. The band shot to stardom after winning the Popstars contest in 2000, and went on to sell more than 5 million records.
The singer said she had been "totally shocked" by the HIV- positive result, which she learnt of in 1999, before the band's spectacular entry to the music scene.
"I couldn't tell anyone. I was terribly afraid," she told the court, adding that she feared her HIV status would affect the band's success.
Benaissa's co-accuser blamed her of bringing "great suffering into the world."
The man, who has been confirmed to be HIV positive, said he had only found out about Benaissa's HIV status three years after they had sex, and had not been able to talk to her about it.
"Over time, my nausea has increased. There comes a time when enough is enough," he said.
Benaissa was arrested in April 2009, as she was about to go onstage in a Frankfurt nightclub, and spent 10 days in custody.
The singer, who has an 11-year-old daughter, has not yet developed the symptoms of AIDS, the immune-system disease that can result from HIV infection.
The trial is set to last another four days. Benaissa's fellow band members Sandy Moelling, Jessica Wahls and Lucy Diakovska are also due to testify during the proceedings.
The case is being heard by a youth jury, as Benaissa was 17 at the time of the earliest alleged incidence of unprotected sex, in 2000