Darren Sharper was ordered to remain in custody in Los Angeles on rape charges Friday, but a judge warned prosecutors she will be inclined to release him by next Thursday if formal charges aren’t soon launched against him in a similar case in New Orleans.
The 38-year-old Sharper is being held without bail on a fugitive warrant in L.A., where he also faces charges of two counts of rape and investigators insist he is suspected in at least nine other attacks in five different states.
Until recently, Sharper was free on $1 million bail, but was jailed again over the last week after a warrant was issued for him in Louisiana. His bail conditions had stipulated that he remain in Los Angeles and stay away from all nightclubs and not be alone with any woman he did not know prior to October, when the first allegations against him emerged.
“To hold him into perpetuity on an arrest warrant seems to be grotesquely unfair,” L.A. Superior Court Judge Renee Korn. The judge later set a hearing for next week to give Louisiana prosecutors time to charge Sharper or for that state’s governor to seek his return through another type of warrant.
In a bail motion filed sometime last month, L. A. County Investigator John Maccharella outlined a pattern in which the former Super Bowl hero met women at clubs or parties and lured them to a hotel room, where they were allegedly drugged and raped.
Investigators contend Sharper regularly rendered his victims defenseless by drugging them with the sleep-inducing drug Ambien before attacking. In the New Orleans warrant, police contend they learned from witnesses Sharper and accused associate Erik Nunez have boasted of having nonconsensual sex with at least two women.
Sharper’s attorneys insist he never made any such statements and the arrest warrant was a pretext to hold him indefinitely without bail. They have previously contended any sex their client had with any of the women was consensual.
“It’s an open investigation,” said New Orleans D.A. Leon A. Cannizzaro Jr. said when asked if prosecutors planned to formally charge Sharper with more crimes prior to the judge’s deadline. “I’m not going to comment on it. I’m not going to put a timetable on it.”
L.A. Deputy District Attorney Javan Wygal has admitted it would be difficult for New Orleans officials to prosecute Sharper because under state laws the case there would expire within four months if he isn’t tried.
Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie and in 2010 in New Orleans when the Saints won the franchise’s first NFL title. He retired after the 2010 season and was working as an analyst for the NFL Network before being fired last week as the charges against him continued to evolve.