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Ex-NFL star Sharper awaits sentence in rape cases

| Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, 3:48 a.m.

NEW ORLEANS — Former NFL star Darren Sharper has a sentencing hearing in federal court Thursday following an earlier multi-jurisdiction plea deal related to allegations he drugged and raped as many as 16 women in four states.

Sentencing was originally slated for June, but Judge Jane Triche Milazzo rejected the 9-year prison sentence prosecutors recommended under the plea deal.

Sharper now faces a possible 15-to-20 years. It remains unclear how much his agreement to testify against his co-defendants will affect his sentencing Thursday.

He has pleaded guilty or no-contest to charges arising from the allegations of drugging and raping women in federal court in New Orleans, and state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada.

Sharper pleaded guilty in federal court to three counts of distributing drugs with rape as the aim. He or his friend Brandon Licciardi, a former sheriff's deputy in neighboring St. Bernard Parish, put anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives into women's drinks so they could rape them, according to a 15-page statement signed as part of that plea.

Charges around the country involve nine victims, but Milazzo has said in court that there may be as many as 16.

Milazzo has scheduled sentencing Oct. 13 for Licciardi and a second New Orleans co-defendant, Erik Nunez.

Like Sharper, Licciardi and Nunez admitted distributing drugs with the intent to commit rape. Their plea agreements say Licciardi has accepted a 17-year sentence, with 10 years for Nunez.

Sharper, a six-time All-Pro safety and five-time Pro Bowl selection during a 14-year career, played for the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and on the Saints team that won the 2010 Super Bowl.

He ended a 14-year career in 2011. He was working as an NFL network analyst when women began telling police in several cities similar stories of blacking out while drinking with him and waking up groggy to find they had been sexually abused.

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