Darren Sharper rape case co-defendants seek separate trials

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Co-defendants of former NFL star Darren Sharper in Louisiana sexual assault cases have asked a federal judge for separate trials.

Erik Nunez and former St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputy Brandon Licciardi (lih-CHAR’-ee) are the remaining defendants in state and federal cases in which Sharper has pleaded guilty. Nunez is accused of obstructing the federal case; Licciardi is accused of distributing drugs to women, intending to rape them.

The judge’s ruling was pending Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, the judge rejected a prosecution motion to disqualify Nunez’s lawyer, Sara Johnson.

Court filings state that Sharper once made a $10,000 payment to Johnson to represent Nunez. Prosecutors said that posed a conflict, since Sharper is now cooperating in the case against Nunez. But Nunez said in court he doesn’t want to change lawyers.