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August 20, 2014

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Darren Sharper returns to court seeking release

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AP Photo/Mario Anzuoni

Former NFL safety Darren Sharper looks toward his attorney Blair Berk during an appearance in Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles, where he pleaded not guilty Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, to charges of drugging and raping two women.

LOS ANGELES — Darren Sharper will return to court on Friday where his attorneys will argue that the former NFL All-Pro safety should be released from a Los Angeles jail.

Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.

Sharper's attorneys filed a motion Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court arguing that since Sharper has not been formally charged in Louisiana, he should be released on the terms of $1 million bail he has already posted.

The former player and football analyst had pleaded not guilty to charges he drugged and raped two women in Los Angeles County and turned himself in last week when New Orleans police issued an arrest warrant on the similar charges.

The athlete's attorneys contend that Los Angeles prosecutors are using the Louisiana case to improperly keep Sharper behind bars until his Los Angeles case is resolved.

"This appears to be an attempt to detain Mr. Sharper indefinitely and unconstitutionally without bail," his attorneys Blair Berk and Leonard Levine wrote in Thursday's motions.

District Attorney's spokeswoman Jane Robison declined comment, saying prosecutors would address their arguments at Friday's hearing.

Sharper, 38, has submitted DNA samples to New Orleans police and had agreed to turn himself in if he was charged and a judge has already set his bail if he is formally charged, the motion states.

Levine has said Sharper would be cleared in the cases. "All of these were consensual contact between Mr. Sharper and women who wanted to be in his company," Levine said after a court hearing last month.

Authorities in Florida, Tucson, Ariz., and Las Vegas also are investigating Sharper for possible sexual assault cases.

Sharper was released on the Los Angeles case on $1 million bail on the condition that he remain in the city, stay away from nightclubs and not be alone with any woman he did not know before October, when the first allegations emerged. His attorneys contend he did not violate any of those terms before turning himself in after the Louisiana warrant was issued.

Sharper was selected All-Pro six times and chosen for the Pro Bowl five times. He played in two Super Bowls, one with the Green Bay Packers as a rookie and was part of a successful championship run while with the New Orleans Saints.

Sharper retired after the 2010 season. He worked as an analyst for the NFL Network, but was fired last week.

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