Sharper's Louisiana state case delayed

By Kevin McGill
Associated Press
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Former NFL safety Darren Sharper during an appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court last year.

NEW ORLEANS — Former NFL star Darren Sharper made a brief appearance on drug and sexual-assault charges in a Louisiana court on Tuesday, but the state judge delayed action while related federal charges are resolved under a plea agreement involving three other states.

The timetable for final resolution of the Louisiana charges was uncertain. State District Judge Karen Herman set a June 15 date for Sharper's next appearance in her court. He's scheduled for a May 21 pre-trial meeting and a June 8 trial in federal court. Those dates could change.

Sharper, a player on the New Orleans Saints team that won the Super Bowl in 2010, returned to the city in disgrace this week, appearing first on Monday in federal court to answer charges that he drugged women with the intent to rape them. He entered a formal not-guilty plea but is expected to change that under a multijurisdictional plea agreement announced last month.

Locked up since early 2014, he will spend at least another nine years behind bars.

Monday's hearing was before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan. Felony guilty pleas cannot be accepted in the magistrate court during initial appearances.

Sharper pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to raping two women he drugged after meeting them in a West Hollywood bar. Formal sentencing there is set for July 15. He will face 20 years but state sentencing rules will have him serve about nine.

Sharper has pleaded guilty to a reduced felony attempted sex assault charge in Las Vegas. Sentencing is scheduled for June 25.The plea agreement calls for Sharper to serve 38 months to eight years in prison for the Nevada conviction, but at the same time as sentences from California, Arizona and Louisiana.

In Arizona, Sharper was quickly sentenced to nine years in prison for his guilty pleas last month to sexually assaulting one woman and trying to sexually assault another woman in November 2013.

In Louisiana, separate state and federal grand juries indicted Sharper last December.

The federal indictment in Louisiana charged Sharper and another man with distributing the drugs alprazolam, diazepam and zolpidem — more commonly known by the brand names Xanax, Valium and Ambien, respectively — with the intent to commit rape.

The two Louisiana state counts of aggravated rape stemmed from accusations that he sexually assaulted two drug-impaired women at his apartment in September 2013.

Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times during a career that included stints with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie in 1997 and the Saints' 2010 victory. He played for the Packers from 1997 to 2004.

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