Ex-NFL star Sharper ordered held without bail in Los Angeles

Reuters
Former professional football player Sharper appears for his arraignment at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles
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Former professional football player Darren Sharper appears for his arraignment at the Clara Shortridge …

By Dana Feldman and Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former pro football star Darren Sharper, who faces accusations in several states of drugging and raping women, was ordered held without bail by a Los Angeles judge on Thursday, based on charges filed against him this week in Arizona.

Sharper, who played 14 years in the National Football League and helped the New Orleans Saints win a 2010 Super Bowl title, has been jailed since last month, when he was formally charged in Los Angeles with drugging four women and raping two of them.

The 38-year-old former defensive back was previously granted $1 million bail in the Los Angeles case but remained in jail because Louisiana authorities were seeking his extradition while they investigated him on similar accusations.

On Thursday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Renee Korn dismissed the Louisiana warrant because prosecutors in New Orleans had not yet filed charges against Sharper. But she ordered him held without bail based on a new fugitive warrant out of Maricopa County, Arizona.

Sharper faces accusations in a number of states that he drugged women and raped them. He has been formally charged in California in Arizona, while Louisiana, Florida and Nevada are said to be investigating him on sex crime allegations.

In the California case, prosecutors say Sharper met two women at a night club in October and took them to a Los Angeles hotel room, where he served them drug-spiked drinks and allegedly raped one. He is accused of doing the same with two other women in California in January.

In Arizona, Sharper stands accused of raping two women after drugging their drinks at a Tempe apartment in November. A grand jury in Maricopa County indicted him this week on two counts of sexual assault and three counts of administering dangerous drugs in connection with the allegations.

Korn rejected a request for bail by defense attorneys for the former NFL star in the Arizona case, despite their assurances he would surrender to authorities in Maricopa County and submit to electronic monitoring.

"I'm going to do what I'd do in any case and set at no bail," she said. "The court has exercised its discretion."

The judge ordered Sharper, who was an on-air commentator for the NFL network when allegations surfaced against him, back to court on March 24.

Sharper has pleaded not guilty to the Los Angeles charges and his attorneys have said that prosecutors in Louisiana do not have enough evidence against him. An attorney representing him in the Arizona case has said he denies those allegations and expects to ultimately be vindicated.

During Thursday's hearing, Sharper stood handcuffed and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit behind a glass partition in an area reserved for criminal defendants. He did not address the court during the brief hearing.

(Reporting by Dana Feldman and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Gunna Dickson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)

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