By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) – Former NFL star Darren Sharper, who faces accusations in several states of drugging and raping women, has been indicted in Arizona on sexual assault charges, Tempe police said on Wednesday.
Sharper, who played 14 years in the National Football League and helped the New Orleans Saints win a 2010 Super Bowl title, is in custody in Los Angeles, where he is accused of drugging four women and raping two of them.
He faces similar accusations in Louisiana and is the subject of sex crimes investigations in Florida and Nevada.
Sharper, 38, was indicted by a grand jury in Maricopa County on two counts of sexual assault and three counts of administering dangerous drugs, said Tempe police Sergeant Michael Pooley in a statement.
Maricopa County prosecutors declined to comment, and the allegations against Sharper were not detailed in the statement, but Pooley has previously said the former defensive back was accused of drugging two women and raping them after they passed out in the early morning hours of November 21.
He said Sharper had served the women drinks at a Tempe apartment where one of the women lived.
Attorney Skip Donau, representing Sharper in the Arizona case, said he has developed “considerable evidence in mitigation” of the charges. He declined to elaborate on that evidence.
“Mr. Sharper is vigorously denying the allegations,” Donau said. “He is hopeful that at the end of the process he will be vindicated.”
Donau said Sharper’s defense team sought to present evidence before the grand jury but ultimately did not.
Last week Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Renee Korn refused a request from Louisiana police to extradite Sharper, saying such a move would be premature as he had not been charged in that state.
Instead, Korn ruled that the former athlete be held without bail, pending a hearing in the case later this week.
Sharper had been working as an analyst for the NFL network but was terminated after he was charged in Los Angeles.
In the California case, prosecutors say Sharper met two women at a night club in October and took them to a Los Angeles hotel room, where he served them drug-spiked drinks and allegedly raped one. He is accused of doing the same with another two women in California in January.
Sharper is accused of sexually assaulting two women in New Orleans in September while they were in an impaired state, according to papers from Los Angeles prosecutors, citing an affidavit in the case. New Orleans police have said he was joined by an acquaintance in committing the actions.
Sharper has pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles and his attorney has previously said prosecutors in Louisiana do not have enough evidence against him.
(Reporting By David Schwartz; Writing and additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)