Arizona judge rejects Sharper’s bid to be released on bail
Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper lost his bid Thursday to be released on bail in a sexual assault case after an Arizona judge found there’s enough evidence to move forward with charges against him in that state.
Sharper’s lawyers had questioned the evidence authorities are using to justify keeping him in jail in California, where he faces separate charges that he drugged and raped two women in October after meeting them at a West Hollywood nightclub.
A California judge had set Sharper’s bail at $1 million but ruled in March that Sharper should remain in jail without bail after the Super Bowl champion was indicted in Arizona on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted two women in November.
His lawyers had hoped to win a favorable ruling from the Arizona judge to persuade the California judge to set him free on bail.
But after two days of arguments in Phoenix, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville found there is sufficient evidence to pursue the Arizona case against Sharper. The Arizona Constitution automatically denies bail to people charged with sexual assault if the proof against them is evident or the presumption of guilt is great.
The move was the latest development in several ongoing sexual assault investigations involving Sharper in Louisiana, California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.
The indictment filed last month in Arizona alleges that Sharper gave the sedative zolpidem to three women and then had "sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact" with two of them without their consent on Nov. 21 at an apartment in Tempe. The drug is commonly sold under the brand name Ambien.
Sharper has not yet entered a plea in the case, although one of his attorneys has said Sharper will deny those allegations. He has pleaded not guilty in the California case.
Earlier this month, Granville denied a request from Sharper’s attorneys to set bail, ruling that he didn’t have jurisdiction until the former player was in Arizona. But Sharper’s attorneys argued that the former player was entitled to a hearing to determine whether Arizona prosecutors have enough evidence to deny him bail.
On Wednesday, Tempe police detective Kevin Mace said Sharper’s DNA was recovered from the clothing of one of the two sexual assault victims in Arizona, but none of his DNA was found during an exam of the other woman.
The detective also said a police search of the apartment turned up a shot glass with a white residue that turned out to be zolpidem, and California investigators discovered that Sharper had a prescription for the drug.
On Thursday, Sharper’s attorneys said their client did not make the drinks that authorities say he used to drug the women, and that neither woman suffered physical injuries.
Prosecutors pointed out that sexual assault victims sometimes don’t suffer physical injuries, and that both women were assaulted while unconscious after being drugged.