Judge Says No to Deal Struck in Rape Case of Former NFL Star Darren Sharper

Plea deal rejected by judge; punishment not severe enough

In March of last year, former NFL star Darren Sharper stood before a judge in Phoenix, Arizona  via video link and pled no contest to drugging and raping two women in Los Angeles, California.   After pleading guilty to the Arizona crimes, Sharper acknowledged his guilt in the Los Angeles Court where he was brought to attend the video hearing.

The plea was entered as part of a larger 4-state deal that involved him going to jail for 108 months on federal charges of distributing alprazolam, diazepam and zolpidem — otherwise known as Xanax, Valium and Ambien — with the intent to commit rape.  As many as 16 women were (allegedly) sexually assaulted by Sharper in Arizona, California, Louisiana and Nevada.

The deal negotiated by Sharper’s attorneys and state and federal prosecutors included all the sexual assaults committed and attempted by the former NFL safety.

Today, though, U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo rejected the deal, saying the sentence of 9 years is too light.

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Sharper may still be able to avoid the 15-20 years mandated by federal sentencing laws, though.  Prosecutors could refile the charges so that Sharper can plead guilty to lesser charges.  Defense attorneys can also try to convince the judge that Sharper’s cooperation against other defendants justify the nine year deal.

Sharper, selected 6-times All-Pro and 5-times Pro Bowl, is eligible for the NFL Hall of Fame despite his earlier guilty plea, since Judge Milazzo has rejected it, leaving the former safety innocent until proven guilty.