Ex-NFL Star Darren Sharper Enters 'Not Guilty' Plea in New Orleans Rape Charges

9:03 AM EDT 4/7/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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Darren Sharper, 39, an ex-NFL star who played for the New Orleans Saints, entered a plea of not guilty to federal charges Monday, April 6, in his first courtroom appearance in Louisiana. He was charged in December in New Orleans Parish with two count of aggravated rape and one count of simple rape.

On January 17 last year, Sharper was arrested and accused of two counts of sexual assault in California, following which he was also charged with multiple sexual assaults in the states of Louisiana, Arizona, and Nevada. He has been in a Los Angeles jail on the rape charges, from where he pleaded guilty to charges in Arizona and Nevada via teleconferencing. He arrived at the St. Tammany Parish Jail last week where he has been held pending his Monday's court appearances in New Orleans. He has already been convicted of sex assault charges in the three states where he entered guilty or no-contest pleas.

Last month, Sharper's lawyers announced he would also plead guilty to his other rape charges in Arizona, California and Nevada as part of a so-called "global resolution" to the pending cases file against him in each of the four states from 2013 to 2014.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan on Monday's hearing set a June trial date, but Sharper is likely to enter a change of plea shortly to resolve the federal case before then. The ex-NFL star is expected to eventually enter a guilty plea to federal charges he conspired with a friend, former St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Licciardi, to drug women in New Orleans with the prescription medications alprazolam, diazepam and zolipedem and will serve his prison time in a federal facility, his lawyers told reporters.

Sharper's lawyers also said that in plea hearings in the other three states last month, they reached deals with prosecutors in each jurisdiction that will see the former New Orleans Saints star serve a total of 10 years behind bars, including the year he has already spent in a Los Angeles County jail. 

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