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AIDS Felony Defendant Can Be Tried, Judge Says

A judge refused Friday to dismiss the county’s first felony case against a male prostitute charged with continuing to have sex after he tested positive for the AIDS virus.

Public Defender Patrick Thomason argued that Municipal Judge Jessica Silvers had failed to follow the law by informing defendant Demitri Santangelo when he was first arrested 11 months ago that he had tested positive for the fatal disease and would be charged with a felony if he continued as a prostitute.

Santangelo, 29, of Hollywood, was given a sealed envelope by the bailiff at his hearing before Silvers, informing him he had tested positive for AIDS. Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan criticized Silvers for “sloppy” work, but said he was satisfied that Santangelo understood that he had the AIDS virus, but continued to have sex.

Thomason said he will appeal the ruling. Another hearing was set for Feb. 22.

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