Ex-NFLer Darren Sharper pleads guilty to sexual assault

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Retired star Darren Sharper appeared in a Los Angeles County courtroom on Friday, February 14, 2014 facing rape and drug charges in two separate cases. He pleaded guilty Monday, March 23, 2015, to one count of sexual assault. He still faces federal charges in Louisiana.

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By Mariano Castillo and Stella Chan

(CNN – March 23, 2015)– Retired NFL star Darren Sharper changed course and pleaded guilty Monday to one count of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.

Sharper has been in jail in Los Angeles since last year, but this case was in Arizona. Sharper and his attorney had a telephone meeting with Judge Warren Granville, where the former player and television analyst changed his plea.

The judge sentenced Sharper to nine years in prison with no eligibility for early release, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokesman Jerry Cobb said. Sharper will also be placed on lifetime probation afterward.

Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowl player, originally faced five counts of drugging and raping three women in Scottsdale, Arizona, in November 2013.

Before being indicted in Arizona, Sharper was arrested in California on charges of drugging and raping two women in that state.

He was also under investigation in other states. Florida prosecutors announced last year they would not prosecute Sharper on similar allegations, but he faces federal charges in Louisiana.

Sharper played for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints from 1997 through the 2010 season. The five-time Pro Bowl player intercepted 63 passes in his career, tying for seventh all-time. He is tied for second all-time in interceptions returned for touchdowns with 11, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.

He later worked as an analyst for NFL Network.

Sharper will get about 300 days credit for time already served in California, Cobb said.

CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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