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December 20, 2014

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Ex-NFL player Darren Sharper charged with rape in Calif.

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Gerald Herbert / AP

In this June 1, 2011, file photo, then-New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper speaks during a news conference in Metairie, La.

LOS ANGELES — Lawyers for Darren Sharper say the former NFL safety will be exonerated of charges he drugged and raped two women in Los Angeles.

Sharper appeared in court Friday but a judge postponed his arraignment until Feb. 20 at request of defense attorneys.

The district attorney's office says Sharper faces counts including rape by use of drugs and furnishing a controlled substance.

The felony case involves alleged incidents in October and January. Prosecutors say Sharper met women at a West Hollywood nightclub, invited them to a party but stopped at his hotel room, where the crimes are alleged to have occurred.

Sharper was arrested Jan. 17. He was allowed to remain free on $200,000 bail but was ordered to surrender his passport.

Prosecutors are seeking to raise his bail to $10 million.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper has been charged in Los Angeles with drugging and raping two women, prosecutors said Friday.

Sharper was expected to be arraigned on two counts of rape by use of drugs, four counts of furnishing a controlled substance, and one count of possession of a controlled substance, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

The complaint alleges the controlled substances were morphine and zolpidem, which is sold under the brand name Ambien.

A call from The Associated Press seeking comment from Nandi Campbell, an attorney for Sharper, was not immediately returned.

Sharper, 38, played in the NFL from 1997 to 2010, mostly with the Packers.

Prosecutors said he met two women at a West Hollywood nightclub on Oct. 30, invited them to a party and stopped at his hotel room.

He is accused of giving a shot of alcohol to each of the women before they passed out. One woman told investigators she woke up naked hours later with Sharper sexually assaulting her. The other woman awoke and "interrupted his actions," according to the criminal complaint.

On Jan. 14, Sharper met two other women at the same nightclub and invited them to a party. On the way, he invited both to his room and offered them shots before they passed out, prosecutors said.

When they woke up early the next day, one woman believed she had been sexually assaulted, the complaint said. Both women left his hotel and sought medical treatment.

Sharper was arrested on Jan. 17 and released on $200,000 bail.

Prosecutors want his bail raised to $10 million because the Miami, Fla., resident faces similar investigations in Arizona, Nevada and Louisiana.

If convicted in the California case, he could face more than 30 years in state prison.

Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Packers as a rookie and a second with the Saints.

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