Darren Sharper gets 9 years in prison for guilty plea in Arizona sex assault case.
Darren Sharper, the former NFL safety who traversed the nation drugging women and sexually assaulting them, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in Arizona and no-contest in a California case in which he was accused of raping two women he knocked out with a powerful sedative mixed with alcohol.
Facing 33 years on the California charges, Sharper, 39, is expected to serve just nine years of a 20-year prison term after accepting a negotiated settlement that encompasses sentences for crimes in four states. He appeared earlier in a Phoenix courtroom by video-conference from the courtroom in L.A., where he has been jailed since Valentine’s Day last year. He admitted sexually assaulting one woman in suburban Phoenix in 2013 and trying to attack another.
As his father looked on, Sharper accepted the deal negotiated by his lawyers and state and federal prosecutors in which he will also serve a nine-year federal prison term for similar crimes in Louisiana and Nevada. The prison terms will run concurrently, meaning Sharper will serve all the sentences at the same time.
The Orleans Parish (La.) District Attorney said in a statement Friday that Sharper had “entered into a plea agreement with respect to pending charges in Louisiana as well as the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and the United States of America.”
His lead attorney, Blair Berk, said Monday that with credit for time served and state guidelines, Sharper is expected to serve “a little less than nine years of actual custody time” for the L.A. case.
According to a source, Sharper will not get more than nine years in any jurisdiction.
While the sentence seems light in contrast to the horrific charges, civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents one of the California victims, told the Daily News Monday night that her client is happy that Sharper entered a plea.
“I represent Jane Doe #2 in the California case. My client is happy that Darren Sharper entered a plea and she is looking forward to providing her victim impact statement in court in July in California,” Allred said.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office released a statement Monday saying, “Sharper entered his plea just as his preliminary hearing was set to begin before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor. He is expected to be sentenced to 20 years in state prison under the terms of a negotiated settlement. Sharper pleaded to two counts of rape by use of drugs and four counts of furnishing a controlled substance.”
One of Sharper’s attorneys, Leonard Levine, told the Daily News Monday after the hearing that it was in his client’s “best interest to accept this global settlement.
“He pleaded no contest,” Levine said. “He’s not formally admitting he committed the allegations.”
A no-contest plea, however, has the same effect as a conviction. Sharper is due back July 15, 2015 for sentencing.
The five-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl champion with the New Orleans Saints who retired in 2011 and worked as an analyst for the NFL Network until his arrest in Los Angeles, also faced state and federal charges of aggravated rape in New Orleans. Additionally, Sharper was charged last week with two felony counts of sexual assault by Las Vegas prosecutors.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told the Associated Press that Sharper was expected to get about eight years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted sexual assault.
Sharper will do the time in the federal system and will then be brought back to California for parole, which is expected to last three to five years. Sharper will then have lifetime probation, if all goes according to plan, according to the source.
During Monday’s hearing, Judge Michael Pastor asked Sharper, “Are you entering each plea freely and voluntarily?”
Yes sir,” Sharper answered, sitting at the defendant’s table wearing a grey pinstriped suit.
“To use the vernacular, do you realize that this is a final answer?” Pastor asked.
“Yes sir,” Sharper answered.
Sharper’s lawyers agreed to “withdraw” a document that explained Sharper’s global settlement after the hearing concluded, and a legal rep for Sharper told reporters the reason was the document didn’t have all the necessary signatures and was admitted to the court prematurely.