March 22, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Latest on former NFL star Darren Sharper's plea deal in a federal drug and rape case (all times local):

10 a.m.

A federal judge has formally accepted Darren Sharper's plea deal in a drug and rape case, making clear to the former NFL star that she could sentence him to 20 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo had earlier rejected a deal that could have meant a nine-year sentence. Attorneys say federal sentencing guidelines call for a sentence in the range of roughly 15 or 16 to 20 years. Prosecutors said in court Tuesday that they may recommend a lighter sentence, based on Sharper's cooperation in related cases.

Sentencing was set for June 16.

Sharper has pleaded guilty or no-contest to state charges in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada, and to the federal charges in New Orleans. All of the charges arise from allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted women.

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8 a.m.

A federal court hearing is scheduled for former NFL star Darren Sharper, who has pleaded guilty or no-contest to charges involving the drugging and rape of women in four states.

Tuesday's hearing in New Orleans is the first for Sharper since he decided to maintain his guilty plea in U.S. District Court after a judge rejected a deal that would have meant as little as nine years in prison.

Attorneys said earlier this month that a new agreement had been reached.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo on Feb. 18 rejected the nine-year sentence and noted sentencing guidelines calling for a sentence in the range of 15 to 20 years.

Sharper might still be able to reduce that by cooperating in the case against two co-defendants.

Sharper had been accused in Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada.

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