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Fourteen years in the NFL. Three teams. One Super Bowl championship. Five trips to the Pro Bowl.
None of those statistics matter when you are suspected of at least eight sexual assaults and 11 druggings in four states. Darren Sharper, who is currently being held without bond in Los Angeles as he awaits trial on two rape charges there, also has two charges pending in Tempe, Arizona. And this morning, he was charged, along with two accomplices, with two more counts of aggravated sexual assault, this time in New Orleans, reports USA Today.
If Sharper is convicted of aggravated rape in Louisiana, the 38-year-old former player and NFL Network analyst could face a life sentence.
Sharper won't be alone at the defense table in New Orleans -- Erik Nunez and St. Bernard Parish Deputy Brandon Licciardi were also indicted by the grand jury.
An in-depth story about the accusations against Sharper from the June 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated recounts the alleged roles of Licciardi and Nunez. (The story also painfully recounts each accusation, from drugging to sexual assault.)
Nunez seemed to be mostly a lackey. Licciardi, a police officer, seemed to have a bigger role. He owned a bar in the area and had developed a friendship with Sharper in the days leading up to the 2010 Super Bowl. According to SI, New Orleans police had already been asking questions about Licciardi and his allegedly improper use of powerful medications before the Sharper story broke.
Though the rules of evidence vary by state, and Sharper faces charges in many states, often the local rules are patterned after the federal rules.
And while most rule sets bar the introduction of past crimes as evidence that the accused committed the present crime at issue (which is why ex-NFL star Aaron Hernanez won't have those other alleged murders clouding up his current murder trial), Federal Rule of Evidence 413 makes an exception for sexual assault:
In a criminal case in which the defendant is accused of an offense of sexual assault, evidence of the defendant's commission of another offense or offenses of sexual assault is admissible, and may be considered for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant.
In plain English: Often, but not always, other accusations of sexual assault can be introduced at trial for a different instance of rape. Sharper has six indictments pending at the moment, and more could be filed against him. Imagine the likelihood of conviction if a jury hears about the eight or more known accusations at each trial.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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