Sharper to enter new plea next week

Associated Press
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Former NFL safety Darren Sharper during an appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles in February 2014.

NEW ORLEANS — Former Green Bay Packers star Darren Sharper, who has pleaded guilty or no-contest to sexual assault charges in three states, is scheduled to enter a new plea in a federal case next week in New Orleans.

Sharper has entered a not-guilty plea to federal charges that he drugged women with the intent to rape them. But he has long been expected to plead guilty as part of a multi-jurisdiction deal announced in March. On Thursday a change-of-plea hearing was set for May 29 before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo.

It remains unclear when Louisiana state charges of aggravated rape would be resolved.

Sharper stands convicted after entering pleas in Nevada, Arizona and California. He will spend at least nine years in prison.

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 made a brief appearance in a state courtroom in New Orleans on April 7. But Louisiana District Judge Karen Herman delayed the case pending resolution of the federal charges, raising questions about when the series of plea deals would be culminated and whether there had been any snags in the deal.

Attorneys have refused to comment. However, last week, court documents filed by Sharper's lawyers stated that efforts to resolve the case through a guilty plea were ongoing. The May 29 date was set after Milazzo held a conference with lawyers Thursday.

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

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