NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Former star safety of the New Orleans Saints, Darren Sharper is expected to be sentenced to 20 years in a state prison under terms of a negotiated settlement.
On Monday, Sharper admitted his guilt in two states and pleaded no contest in Los Angeles as part of a global plea deal. It's an agreement with prosecutors to resolve all of the cases against him in all jurisdictions.
"This was an unusual deal to wrap up all of the criminal issues he's got in California, Nevada, Arizona and Louisiana and in the federal system," said Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino.
Sharper appeared in Arizona via video conference from the Los Angeles jail. He pleaded guilty to sexual assault and attempted sexual assault and was immediately sentenced to nine years in prison. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sharper also pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted sexual assault for attacking two women in Las Vegas, and agreed to an eight-year sentence.
Sharper appeared in person in a Los Angeles courtroom, where he'd been charged with drugging and raping two women in separate incidents.
"Now, he's going to have to come to New Orleans and enter his plea here in person, both in state and federal court," Ciolino said.
Sharper's facing aggravated rape and drug distribution charges in New Orleans. Ciolino said he'll probably plead guilty to the lesser charge of forcible rape, which, according to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times Picayune, is in exchange for a 20-year sentence.
Ciolino said such a deal will no doubt mean Sharper's cooperation as prosecution continues for his two co-defendants, Erik Nunez and former St. Bernard Parish Deputy Brandon Liccardi.
"If he has information relevant to the crimes that those individuals may have committed, then you can bet that he is going to testify, provide information and testify against them," Ciolino said.
He said while it isn't too late for Liccardi and Nunez to change their pleas, Sharper has the advantage because he took the deal first.
"As far as opportunities to cooperate, as one guilty plea comes and the next comes, there are diminishing opportunities to provide meaningful assistance to the authorities, so usually the guy that's first get out first and gets the best deal," Ciolino said.
Sharper is expected to enter a guilty plea in New Orleans on April 6.