The serial date rape case against Darren Sharper was starting to grow stale.
After a grand jury in Arizona indicted him in March, almost nothing seemed to change for the jailed former NFL star.
No trial date. No bail. No new charges.
But the stillness shattered Friday with a stunning development in New Orleans that could doom him for life — two new grand jury indictments, including one that charged him with aggravated rape along with two of his cohorts, Erik Nunez and Brandon Licciardi.
“This came out of nowhere,” Nunez’s attorney Herbert Larson told USA TODAY Sports. “We fully intend to plead not guilty to the indictment. We’re going to take this matter to trial and are confident at the end of the day he will be found not guilty of all charges against him.”
Nunez, who recently worked as a waiter in New Orleans, is an acquaintance of Sharper’s who worked for the same women’s charity events at which Sharper sometimes made appearances to raise breast cancer awareness, according to social media accounts in his name.
Licciardi, a sheriff’s deputy from nearby St. Bernard Parish, is described as Sharper’s friend.
Both are now alleged accomplices and indicted co-defendants. They are also potential witnesses who could be tempted to testify against Sharper to help avoid life prison sentences of their own.
It’s a troubling threat for Sharper, 39, whose attorney in New Orleans didn’t return a message seeking comment.
The charges also mark a thunderous fall from grace for a beloved former Saints player who helped New Orleans win a Super Bowl in 2010.
In a separate indictment on Friday, a federal grand jury charged Sharper and Licciardi with related drug crimes. Licciardi, 29, also is charged with witness tampering and impeding the investigation.
Source: USA Today