June 25, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) A co-defendant of former NFL star Darren Sharper in a federal drug and sexual assault case is entitled to more information about witnesses and specific allegations being made by prosecutors who claim there was an attempt to keep witnesses from testifying in the case, a judge ruled Thursday.

Sharper has pleaded guilty to drug and sexual assault cases in multiple jurisdictions. He has also agreed to cooperate with investigators in the case against his co-defendant in the Louisiana-based federal case, Brandon Licciardi, who has pleaded not guilty.

Licciardi, a former sheriff's deputy in suburban St. Bernard Parish, is charged with joining Sharper in giving women drugs with plans to rape them. He's also faces three related charges involving allegations that he impeded the federal investigation, withheld information and encouraged a witness not to provide information.

Brian Capitelli, a lawyer for Licciardi, complained that the indictment contains ''vague allegations'' and too little information on which to base a defense. ''We shouldn't be in the business of guessing when the stakes are so high,'' he told U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo.

Federal prosecutors argued that they've given Licciardi enough information on all counts and that Capitelli was, in effect, asking them to detail their entire case.

Milazzo, however, ordered that prosecutors provide the defense with a ''bill of particulars'' regarding the three counts alleging that he tried to hamper investigators. Prosecutors will have to provide more information on witnesses and specific information on what Licciardi is alleged to have lied about and what he is alleged to have withheld. She denied a defense request for more information on the allegations of drugging women for the purpose of assaulting them, however.

Sharper has pleaded guilty or no-contest to state charges in Arizona, California, Nevada and Louisiana, as well as in federal court, to allegations that he drugged and raped women. Locked up since early last year, he is expected to serve roughly nine more years behind bars under a multi-jurisdiction plea deal announced in March. He has not been formally sentenced in all jurisdictions, however, and could face 20 years if he doesn't comply with extensive requirements in the plea agreement.

A Nevada sentencing hearing set for Thursday was postponed, with a prosecutor saying it will likely be rescheduled for late August.

Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times during a career that included stints with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie and in the Saints' 2010 victory.

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