crimesider

Darren Sharper, ex-NFL star, admits drugging, raping 3 women in New Orleans

Darren Sharper in a Los Angeles, Calif. court on Feb. 14, 2014

Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS - Former NFL star Darren Sharper pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges drugging and raping three women in New Orleans, reports the Times-Picayune.

Sharper has already pleaded guilty or no-contest to charges that he distributed drugs with the intent to commit rape in Nevada, Arizona and California. He previously pleaded not guilty in New Orleans, but changed that plea Friday morning.

A multi-jurisdiction plea agreement was announced in March.

Also pending in New Orleans are two Louisiana state counts of aggravated rape stemming from accusations that he sexually assaulted two drug-impaired women at his apartment in September 2013.

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.

Sharper was first arrested on rape charges in Los Angeles in January of 2014 and has been jailed since February of that year. Allegations of drug-related rapes in other states followed, resulting eventually in charges being filed in Arizona and Nevada, as well as in state and federal courts in New Orleans.

A plea deal was announced in March to resolve the charges in all jurisdictions. On March 23, Sharper pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Arizona and no contest in California. He was sentenced to nine years in Arizona and is expected to draw a nine-year sentence when sentenced in California in July.

On March 24, Sharper pleaded guilty in Las Vegas to a reduced felony: attempted sex assault. He is expected to be sentenced on June 25 in that case to up to eight years.

According to the Times-Picayune, Sharper's lawyers said that the multi-state deal means he will serve just 10 years total in prison. The paper also reports that as part of the deal, Sharper will likely be required to assist investigators in their cases against co-defendants St. Bernard Parish sheriff's deputy Brandon Licciardi and Metairie waiter Erik Nunez, both of whom have pleaded not guilty to charges.

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, which Sharper pleaded to Friday.

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