Authorities announced Wednesday (March 12) that former NFL player Darren Sharper was charged in a sexual assault case involving two women in Arizona.
A grand jury indicted Sharper, 38, on double sexual assault counts and three counts of administering dangerous drugs, stemming from a November 2013 incident, authorities said. The onetime NFL safety is currently locked up in California, and faces sexual assault allegations in five states thus far.
Several women have accused Sharper of rape, including in New Orleans, where he played for the Saints. Prosecutors in the Big Easy confirmed Wednesday that no indictment would be brought against Sharper by Thursday's (March 13) deadline, meaning that he could be released from custody.
An arrest warrant was previously issued for Sharper in New Orleans. "To hold him into perpetuity on an arrest warrant seems to be grotesquely unfair," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Renee Korn said at a hearing last week.
In the Arizona case, two women claim Sharper drugged and had sex with them during a night of partying. Sharper and a trio of women met at a bar, and while the third woman fell asleep from the drugs slipped in her drink, the remaining two reported taking shots with the ex athlete back at their apartment. They later passed out and woke up believing that they had been sexually assaulted, according to investigators.
Skip Donau, Sharper's Arizona lawyer, "vigorously" denied the new charges on his client's behalf. Donau said that Sharper expects to be "exonerated" of wrongdoing, then took aim at the press. "We are disappointed at this stage in the proceedings at the media coverage generated by the prosecution in various states, which we believe may deprive Darren of a fair opportunity to defend himself," stated Donau.
Sharper is a 14-year NFL veteran. He retired from the league in 2010, with the sixth most regular season career interceptions in the NFL. In 2012, the Virginia native picked up a position with the NFL Network from which he was officially released last week, in light of the rape accusations.
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(Photo: Bob Chamberlin-Pool/Getty Images)