NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - An alleged co-conspirator of Darren Sharper walked into court on his own Monday morning. He was handcuffed and placed into custody.
Prosecutors say Erik Nunez had sex with women who were allegedly drugged. Until Monday, he remained free on a $400,000 bond.
All of that changed Monday morning as he entered a plea of not guilty to aggravated rape charges.
Nunez, who was indicted Friday by a state grand jury, is accused of raping and drugging women with former Saints Star Darren Sharper.
He turned himself in before Judge Karen Herman, but after his attorneys challenged his case being allotted to Judge Herman, deputies handcuffed him and brought him to jail.
Nunez's attorneys raised an issue faced by many defendants in criminal court. They say their problem isn't with Judge Herman, most consider her fair. They say their problem is that her being selected as the judge in this case was flawed.
"In a case like this where there are lot of dates with broad time periods from July 1 to August 30, they can, [I'm] not saying they are, but they choose the judge by choosing the date," explained Jeffrey Smith, Nunez's attorney.
Smith said the dates used to select Judge Herman had nothing to do with Erik Nunez's alleged offenses. He says it was based on allegations against co-defendant Brandon Licciardi, and the time frame of those allegations.
Judge Herman refused to recuse herself Monday. However, the issue over whether she will continue to preside over the case will likely be taken up by another judge, who will be allotted by the clerk of court's office.