Darren Sharper again seeks sentence reduction
Disgraced former NFL star Darren Sharper has renewed efforts to get a reduction in his 18-year federal sentence for drugging and raping women.
Lawyers for Sharper, who lost an earlier appeal, filed a 50-page memorandum this week in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, arguing he was not adequately advised by his trial lawyers on the consequences of his 2016 guilty plea. The memorandum also contends the trial judge and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals made errors.
Sharper’s case arose from allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted as many as 16 women in four states.
He had retired from the league in 2011 and was working as an NFL network analyst when women in several cities began telling police they had blacked out while drinking with him and woke up groggy to discover they had been sexually assaulted.
After he was arrested and jailed in Los Angeles in 2014, he initially fought charges. As allegations and criminal charges mounted, a “global” plea deal involving the federal court in New Orleans and state courts in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada was announced. The deal was expected to result in Sharper spending about nine years in prison.
But U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in New Orleans rejected the sentence as too light. She gave Sharper the option of withdrawing his plea. After he decided to maintain the plea, Milazzo sentenced him to 18 years and four months.
Sharper’s 14-year NFL career included stints with the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and, finally, in New Orleans with the Saints, where he was part of the team that won the 2010 Super Bowl.
The motion filed Wednesday said Sharper deserves more credit in sentencing for his cooperation with prosecutors in his own case that that of two Louisiana co-defendants.
“Mr. Sharper intended, and still intends, to accept responsibility for his behavior,” Sharper’s lawyers said in court filings. “He does not seek to escape blame in this matter.” Milazzo issued an order posted Thursday that gives prosecutors until Aug. 27 to respond.
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