Ex-NFL star's co-defendants face sentences in drug-rape case

AP News
Posted: Oct 20, 2016 3:33 AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The two Louisiana co-defendants in the drug and rape case that brought down one-time NFL star Darren Sharper were set for formal sentencing Thursday in federal court in New Orleans.

Erik Nunez, a former restaurant worker, and Brandon Licciardi (lih-CHAR-dee), a former suburban sheriff's deputy, pleaded guilty to state and federal charges earlier this year.

The case arose from revelations that Sharper drugged and raped women in four states.

Sharper was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison after pleading guilty.

Like Sharper, Licciardi and Nunez pleaded guilty to state and federal charges in the case. Their plea agreements with state and federal prosecutors call for Licciardi to serve 17 years; with Nunez serving 10 years. Both men face formal sentencing in state court next week.

During a 14-year NFL career, Sharper played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie and one with New Orleans Saints when they won in 2010. He retired in 2011 and was working as a broadcast NFL analyst when allegations that he drugged and raped women began to surface.

Under a deal that was expected to net him about nine years in prison, Sharper pleaded guilty or no-contest in state and federal courts to charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted women in Arizona, California, Nevada and Louisiana — all part of a multistate "global" plea deal announced in early 2015.

But U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, saying there were as many as 16 victims in the four states, rejected the sentence as too light. That led to his 18-year federal sentence, followed by a 20-year state sentence that attorneys said was essentially the same given state and federal sentencing practices and credit for time served.

Louisiana is the only state in which Sharper had co-defendants.