Darren Sharper due in court amid drug, sex assault investigations

Darren Sharper due in court amid drug, sex assault investigations
Former NFL safety Darren Sharper is being investigated by authorities in five states for alleged sexual assaults. He was charged by Los Angeles prosecutors in January, and indicted by an Arizona grand jury Wednesday. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
A day after being indicted by an Arizona grand jury, ex-NFL star Darren Sharper is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Thursday morning -- his latest hearing amid mounting legal troubles that extend across five states.

Los Angeles prosecutors charged Sharper in February with seven rape and drug counts, alleging he drugged and assaulted two women he met at a West Hollywood club. Court documents revealed he was under investigation for similar allegations in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Tempe, Ariz.


He is also being investigated for an alleged sexual battery in Miami Beach, Fla. 

Sharper was released from jail on $1-million bail, but was taken into custody again Feb. 27 by Los Angeles police after authorities in New Orleans issued a warrant for his arrest for two alleged assaults there. The hearing Thursday is related to that warrant, and whether Sharper can continue to be held at a Los Angeles jail.

Sharper has not been charged in the New Orleans case. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Renee Korn warned last week that unless New Orleans prosecutors charged Sharper or the Louisiana governor sought his extradition, it would be it would be "grossly unfair" to hold him without bail.

On Wednesday, Tempe police announced Sharper had been indicted by a grand jury there on two counts of sexual assault and three counts of administering dangerous drugs. The Maricopa County attorney's office did not return calls for comment.

Skip Donau, an attorney representing Sharper in Arizona, said his client is going to "vigorously defend the allegations."

"We are going to vigorously defend the case with the expectation that he'll be vindicated," Donau said.

The latest charges stem from an incident that began Nov. 20 when Sharper visited a woman in Arizona, Tempe Sgt. Michael Pooley said. Pooley said Sharper went with the woman and two of her friends to two bars in nearby Scottsdale.

At one of the bars, Pooley said, the woman Sharper was visiting began acting "abnormal," even though she hadn't had many drinks. The group returned to her apartment, where her friends put her to bed.

There, Sharper allegedly mixed drinks for the two other women and a roommate who had not gone out, Pooley said. One of the women refused the shot and left, another allegedly passed out on the couch within minutes, he said.

The roommate started feeling dizzy -- "something wasn't right," Pooley said -- and locked herself in her bedroom, where she called her boyfriend. She then went to go splash water on her face, and she allegedly saw Sharper naked on top of the woman on the couch, Pooley said.

The roommate told police that Sharper said he "had a thing going on" with the woman and said she shouldn't worry, Pooley said. The next morning, Sharper told the women he didn't remember what happened that night.

The woman he had been visiting -- the one put to bed by her friends -- allegedly woke up slumped across the bed without pants on, Pooley said.

Authorities allege Sharper drugged and assaulted that woman and the one on the couch, and also drugged the roommate.


It remained unclear what impact the Tempe indictment would have on Thursday's hearing.

Sharper, who played for the Green Bay PackersMinnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, has been fired from his job with the NFL Network.