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May 29, 2015

Darren Sharper, accused of raping women in four states, changing his plea

Former NFL player Darren Sharper, accused of drugging and raping women in four states, was expected on Friday to change his not-guilty plea on related federal charges in New Orleans.

Sharper, 39, already has pleaded guilty or no contest to rape or attempted rape in Arizona, California and Nevada as part of a series of plea agreements with prosecutors that call for his sentences to be served concurrently in federal prison.

Court records indicate Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowl National Football League safety who helped lead the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl victory in 2010, will change his plea on charges that he drugged women in Louisiana and elsewhere with the intent to rape them. The charges could result in a prison sentence of at least nine years.

Authorities say Sharper met his female victims at various nightclubs, then sexually assaulted them after taking them back to his hotel or apartment and spiking their drinks with a narcotic.

In March, Sharper pleaded guilty to sexual assault and attempted sexual assault in Arizona and attempted sexual assault in Nevada. He pleaded no contest to two counts of rape by use of drugs and four counts of furnishing a controlled substance in California.

He still has a separate pending case on state charges in New Orleans, where he was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting two women.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said Sharper was expected to be sentenced to 20 years in prison under the terms of his plea deal there. Factoring in his eligibility for parole after serving half his term, and nearly a year's credit for time spent in custody since his arrest, Sharper would end up behind bars at least nine years before he could win release.