Sharper rape case co-defendants enter state guilty pleas


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The criminal case that exposed former NFL star Darren Sharper as a sexual predator moved closer to final resolution Thursday with guilty pleas in Louisiana state court by two co-defendants.

Court records show Erick Nunez, a former restaurant worker, pleaded guilty to sexual battery. Brandon Licciardi, a former sheriff’s deputy in Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish, pleaded guilty to human trafficking and rape. The pleas from Sharper’s acquaintances comply with an agreement announced this month when they pleaded guilty to related federal charges.

Sharper had already pleaded guilty or no-contest in state and federal courts to charges related to allegations he drugged and raped as many as 16 women in Arizona, California, Nevada and Louisiana. He faces up to 15 to 20 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. His sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 18. A nine-year sentence called for in his original plea deal was rejected by a federal judge.

Licciardi will serve 17 years under an agreement signed by state and federal prosecutors. Nunez, a former restaurant worker, will serve 10. Both agreements await a federal judge’s approval. Their sentencing hearings are set for October.

Sharper, a six-time All-Pro safety during a 14-year career, played for the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings and on the Saints team that won the 2010 Super Bowl. He retired in 2011.

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