Ex NFL player Darren Sharper accused of drugging, raping women

Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:45pm EST
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By Dana Feldman and Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former professional football player Darren Sharper, a star defensive back turned television sports analyst, was charged on Friday with drugging four women and raping two of them in a Los Angeles area hotel, prosecutors said.

Sharper, 38, appeared briefly in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday in connection with the alleged incidents, which prosecutors said occurred in October and January, but he did not enter a plea.

His arraignment was postponed until February 20, and a judge allowed Sharper to remain free on $200,000 bail.

Representing Sharper was Blair Berk, a high-profile celebrity defense lawyer whose past clients include Kiefer Sutherland, Mel Gibson and Queen Latifah. She said after the hearing that her client was innocent.

"We look forward to the true facts being revealed in this case and we are hopeful that Mr. Sharper will be fully exonerated before this case is concluded," she told reporters outside the court.

Sharper spent most of his 14-year National Football League career with the Green Bay Packers, but also played for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, helping the Saints win a Super Bowl title in 2010.

He retired the following year, after leading the league twice in interceptions and three times in defensive touchdowns. He was selected five times for the Pro Bowl and twice as a First-Team All-Pro.

Sharper, who went on to become an on-air NFL Network commentator, is charged with two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance.   Continued...

New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper stretches before practice at the University of Miami practice facility in Coral Gables, Florida February 3, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes