When police arrested former Saints safety Darren Sharper on Jan. 17, 2014, in Los Angeles, they found a black toiletry bag in his hotel room.
Inside various plastic and glass bottles were 20 zolpidem, known by the brand name Ambien; two morphine pills; nine oxycodone pills; three Vicodins; the illicit party drug MDMA; and the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, in both liquid and pill form, according to a police report.
Two years later, with Sharper having pleaded guilty or no-contest in five courtrooms from L.A. to New Orleans, attorneys for a co-defendant in state and federal courts in Louisiana want to know where the retired NFL star got all those drugs.
Attorneys for former St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brandon Licciardi, who is accused of rape, as well as scheming with Sharper to drug women for rape, are insisting that federal officials turn over Sharper’s prescription drug record well in advance of a trial now scheduled to begin March 7.
They also want the prescription records of a woman Licciardi is accused of raping after drugging her with Ecstasy in New Orleans a day before the city hosted the Super Bowl in 2013.
Licciardi’s attorneys, Ralph and Brian Capitelli, hope to challenge the suggestion in a six-count federal indictment that their client furnished Sharper with the drugs he used to rape his victims.
Sharper’s arrest in Los Angeles came three days after he picked up two women at a West Hollywood nightclub, drugged them and raped one of them, according to the women’s allegations. It came two days after two other women filed complaints against Sharper in Las Vegas, saying he had drugged and raped them in a hotel suite.
Sharper last year entered guilty or no-contest pleas in California, Arizona, Nevada and Louisiana as part of a “global” plea deal to resolve allegations he drugged and raped or tried to rape nine women while working as an NFL Network analyst.
He awaits sentencing in all but one state, while Licciardi and former New Orleans steakhouse waiter Erik Nunez together face state and federal charges related to the alleged scheme.
Licciardi, 30, and Nunez, 28, also are accused of aggravated rape in separate incidents. They face mandatory life prison terms if convicted.
In a flurry of legal filings late Thursday, Licciardi’s attorneys also asked the government to turn over any evidence that suggests that Licciardi neither uses drugs nor condones their use.
They cited one witness who told an FBI agent: “Every time I’ve talked about like, drugs, like Molly (MDMA) or coke or something around him, he was just like, ‘That’s disgusting, that’s disgusting,’ like he made it seem like he was so anti-drug, so anti-everything.”
They also are asking U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo to suppress a video from the Ohm nightclub in which Licciardi is alleged to have spiked a woman’s drink after she approached him and accused his friend Sharper of raping her friend.
That woman ended up passed out in the club’s bathroom after closing.
In another filing, Sharper’s attorneys reveal that an FBI informant, Glen McInerney, surreptitiously recorded conversations with Licciardi during an investigation of Sharper in mid-2014. That was after Licciardi had met with authorities and eventually turned over his cellphone, precipitating an arrest warrant for Sharper in New Orleans.
Licciardi’s attorneys want the recordings tossed out, saying they were manipulated by a man the feds had earlier labeled a liar and “scamster,” their motion states.
The filing says those recordings took place at various bars in Chalmette, where the deputy owned a daiquiri shop on the parish line.
Licciardi’s attorneys also filed motions to dismiss two federal counts of witness tampering, saying they allege efforts by Licciardi to impede a federal investigation that didn’t get started until later.
Licciardi is accused of urging a woman in December 2013 and early March 2014 “to not provide law enforcement officials with certain information” about Sharper. Since there was no federal investigation until late March 2014, Licciardi’s attorneys argue, those counts are bogus.
In other filings, Licciardi’s attorneys want a government review of whether U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite’s office overstepped federal guidelines in prosecuting Sharper, Licciardi and Nunez for many of the same allegations contained in pending state prosecutions.
The state charges accuse Licciardi and Nunez of rape and human trafficking, while the federal charges center on a drug conspiracy involving the same incidents.
In a similar argument, Licciardi’s attorneys filed a motion saying the federal prosecution amounts to double jeopardy and that Milazzo should dismiss the entire federal indictment.
Licciardi’s attorneys would not comment for this story.
In the meantime, Nunez’s attorneys are asking Milazzo for more time to file their own motions in the case before a trial.
Licciardi and Nunez, while both Sharper pals, are expected to present antagonistic defenses. Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges in state and federal courts in Louisiana, the only state where they face charges related to the alleged drugging-and-rape scheme.
Milazzo has denied Licciardi’s bid to be privy to discussions among Sharper’s attorneys, the government and the judge over her pending ruling on the global plea deal that would see Sharper spend about nine years in federal prison before his release under a raft of conditions.
Milazzo has yet to set a new sentencing date for the former football star.