Arraignment delayed for ex-NFL star Darren Sharper in New Orleans rape case

Tue Apr 7, 2015 12:02pm EDT
 
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By Jonathan Kaminsky

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Disgraced former NFL star Darren Sharper, who last month pleaded guilty or no contest to rape or attempted rape charges in three states, appeared on Tuesday in a New Orleans courtroom, where his arraignment on additional rape charges was delayed until June.

Sharper, 39, last month pleaded guilty or no contest to charges in Arizona, California and Nevada as part of a series of plea bargains prosecutors have said will land him at least nine years in federal prison.

Local prosecutors in New Orleans have said Sharper has reached a plea deal to settle the Louisiana case which, like the others, stems from allegations that he drugged women and then raped them. But the deal is not expected to add to the overall time he serves in prison.

When the former football player appeared on Monday in federal court in New Orleans he entered a plea of not guilty to related charges of drugging women with intent to rape them, but that plea was a formality and could later be reversed, prosecutors said.

Louisiana Judge Karen Herman then on Tuesday put off Sharper's arraignment on two counts of aggravated rape and one count of simple rape until the federal case is resolved, setting an arraignment date of June 15.

Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowl National Football League safety who helped lead the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl victory in 2010, was charged in four states with raping his victims, women he met at various nightclubs, after taking them back to his hotel or apartment and spiking their drinks with a narcotic.

He pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Arizona, attempted sexual assault there and in Nevada, and pleaded no contest to two counts of rape by use of drugs and four counts of furnishing a controlled substance in California.

All the plea bargains entered so far call for his sentences to be served concurrently in federal prison.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Eric Beech and Lisa Lambert)

 
Former National Football League star Darren Sharper appears at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, California March 23, 2015.REUTERS/Nick Ut/Pool