A former St. Bernard Parish sheriff’s deputy charged in connection with the rape case against former New Orleans Saints football player Darren Sharper pleaded not guilty Monday to federal drug and witness-tampering charges.
Brandon Licciardi, 29, entered the plea before a U.S. magistrate judge in New Orleans. Licciardi resigned from the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office after he was named alongside Sharper in federal and state indictments issued last Friday.
Besides the federal charges, Licciardi was indicted by a state grand jury on a charge of aggravated rape of a woman on Feb. 2, 2013; three counts of human trafficking for the purposes of providing sexual conduct; and one count of battery. A bond hearing was scheduled for Thursday.
Sharper and Licciardi were accused by federal prosecutors of drugging several women “with the intent to commit rape.” Licciardi is a friend of Sharper.
Also Monday, Erik Nunez, another Sharper acquaintance, surrendered to authorities. He was charged with two state counts of aggravated rape for his alleged involvement with two women allegedly assaulted at Sharper’s apartment. Nunez also was charged with obstruction of justice.
WVUE-TV reports that Nunez, 27, was placed in custody after he pleaded not guilty to aggravated rape charges in criminal court in New Orleans.
Sharper is jailed in California on charges that he drugged and raped two women there. He also faces sexual-assault charges in Arizona. Similar accusations against Sharper in Las Vegas remain under investigation.
Sharper has pleaded not guilty in California, and has denied the other allegations.