Brandon Licciardi, the former St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy accused along with ex-Saint Darren Sharper in a scheme to drug and rape women, returned to federal court Friday to plead not guilty to charges contained in a superseding indictment.
Licciardi, 30, has maintained his innocence in state and federal cases that portray him both as a fixer for Sharper’s admitted drugging and rape spree and as a rapist himself.
The court hearing was largely a formality. The superseding indictment is little changed from one a grand jury handed up in December, accusing Licciardi and Sharper in a conspiracy to drug women with the intent to commit rape. Licciardi is also accused of witness tampering. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.
Licciardi pleaded not guilty to the earlier indictment in December.
Since then, Sharper has agreed to a “global” plea deal in four states that will keep him behind bars for another nine years and require him to register as a sex offender, receive extensive treatment and be on lifetime probation when he gets out.
Federal and state judges in Louisiana have yet to sign off on the deal, but Sharper, charged in nine rapes, already has pleaded guilty or no contest in California, Arizona and Nevada.
Licciardi, a 10-year Sheriff’s Office veteran who is the son of a former high-ranking member of the department, resigned on the day that both state and federal indictments came down.
A trial in federal court for Licciardi on the six-count indictment is scheduled for Oct. 13.
No trial date has been set in Criminal District Court for Licciardi, who faces counts of aggravated rape, human trafficking and aggravated battery, the last count for allegedly drugging a woman who woke up in the bathroom of a locked Warehouse District bar in late 2013.
Asked how Licciardi’s case might be affected by Sharper’s “global” plea deal — details of which were revealed by The New Orleans Advocate this week — Ralph Capitelli, Licciardi’s lawyer, said it’s difficult to say.
Capitelli said he hasn’t been able to see the terms of Sharper’s deal yet; his only knowledge of them comes from the news media.
Among various other conditions outlined in the plea agreement, Sharper must testify before juries and grand juries when the government requests it. That testimony could well involve Licciardi and another co-defendant, Erik Nunez.
“We don’t even know what the deal is, and we don’t know what he’s going to say,” Capitelli said of Sharper. “I’ll tell you this: If he tells the truth, we don’t have a problem.”