Judge delays preliminary hearing in case against ex-NFL star Darren Sharper

Preliminary hearing in Darren Sharper rape cases is delayed until Friday

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Tuesday delayed until later this week the preliminary hearing for former NFL star Darren Sharper, who is accused of sexually assaulting women in four states.

The Super Bowl-winning safety has been jailed for more than a year amid investigations into allegations that he attacked women in L.A., Las Vegas, New Orleans and Tempe, Ariz.

Judge Michael Pastor said he postponed the hearing until Friday because of scheduling conflicts for some of the prosecution’s witnesses and to give both parties additional time to prepare.

Sharper, who was in court Tuesday in orange jail scrubs, waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing to accommodate the rescheduling.

Prosecutors are expected to present evidence that Sharper drugged two women in Los Angeles before sexually assaulting them. The preliminary hearing will determine whether authorities have a strong enough case to proceed to trial.

According to Los Angeles Police Department documents, women told LAPD detectives that Sharper insisted they take drinks he made before they blacked out and were sexually assaulted.

One woman told authorities that in October 2013 she was introduced to Sharper by a mutual friend at a Century City hotel. She accompanied Sharper to his hotel room, where Sharper poured her a drink she did not want and insisted she drink it, according to the report. The next morning, she told authorities, she awoke naked with Sharper on top of her. The woman attempted to leave, but Sharper “continued having sex with her,” the report said.

Two other reports detailed statements from two women who said they met Sharper at a nightclub in January 2014. They said they accompanied him to an after-party and were on the way to another party when Sharper told them that he had to stop by his hotel to pick something up and invited them to his room.

When they arrived at Sharper’s hotel room, the women told police that Sharper poured them shots, insisting that they drink them, according to the reports. The women told detectives that they blacked out and woke up the following morning on a pull-out bed in the living room. One of the women said she felt pain in her vagina. The other woman told authorities that she “couldn’t remember anything.”

Less than a month later, Los Angeles County prosecutors filed rape and drug charges against the 39-year-old Sharper, who posted bail and was released. Sharper was taken into custody the following month after New Orleans police issued a warrant for his arrest. An L.A. judge ordered that he be held without bail.

Sharper was then indicted by grand juries in Louisiana and Arizona on sexual assault and drug charges.

In Arizona, he faces three counts of conspiring to distribute anxiety and sleeping medicines known to be used as “date rape” drugs with the intent to commit rape. In Louisiana, he faces federal drug charges and allegations of aggravated rape, which carries a potential life prison sentence.

Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner with the New Orleans Saints who retired in 2011, worked as an analyst for the NFL Network until his arrest in Los Angeles.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


4:20 p.m.: This article was updated to include details from Tuesday's court hearing, including the postponement of Sharper's preliminary hearing. 

The first version of this article was published at 5:40 a.m.