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Ex-NFL star arrested in Los Angeles on New Orleans rape warrant

Former professional football player Darren Sharper appears for his arraignment at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los
Former professional football player Darren Sharper appears for his arraignment at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former football star Darren Sharper, wanted by New Orleans police as a suspect in two rapes, was arrested on Thursday in Los Angeles, where he pleaded not guilty a week ago to charges of drugging four other women and raping two of them.

The two women accusing him in New Orleans say Sharper, 38, and an acquaintance, Erik Nunez, 26, each raped them both at the same location on the night of September 23, 2013, according to a New Orleans Police Department statement on Thursday.

No other details of the alleged assaults were disclosed.

Sharper's attorney, Nandi Campbell, said neither she nor her client had any comment.

Sharper, who resides in Miami Beach, Florida, was taken into custody on a fugitive warrant on Thursday evening in Los Angeles, though additional details of his arrest were not available, Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Nuria Vanegas said.

Authorities did not disclose any information on the possible whereabouts of Nunez.

Sharper, a defensive back who played 14 years in the National Football League and helped the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl title in 2010, pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and drug charges in Los Angeles on February 20.

According to Los Angeles prosecutors, Sharper drugged two women with spiked drinks and raped one of them in a hotel room in October, then drugged two more women and raped one of them at the same hotel in January.

He pleaded not guilty last Thursday to two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

The five-time Pro Bowl player, suspended from his job as an NFL Network on-air commentator after his arrest in January, was released on $1 million bail in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors had wanted to raise the bail amount to $10 million, citing sex crime investigations against him in Louisiana, Nevada, Arizona and Florida.

On the same day that Sharper appeared in Los Angeles court, police in Miami Beach released a report detailing a woman's allegation that the football star had also raped her.

The woman told investigators she was intoxicated when she went to Sharper's condo in 2012 and fell asleep. When she woke up, she realized Sharper was having sex with her and left, according to the police report.

The woman reported the 2012 incident to Miami Beach police two days after Sharper was arrested in Los Angeles on January 17, police said. No charges in the case have been filed.

(Reporting Kathy Finn in New Orleans and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Steve Gorman and Janet Lawrence) nL1N0LX0MW

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