An ex-professional football star, Darren Sharper, has pleaded no-contest in court to charges that he drugged and raped multiple women. The former National Football League safety entered the pleas in Arizona and California and he is expected to do the same for similar crimes in Louisiana and Nevada, prosecutors say. The no-contest pleas are expected to put him in jail for a minimum of nine years.

Used Ambien to Sedate His Victims

The athlete's no-contest pleas, which are not technically guilty pleas but similar in legal terms, were entered in relation to multiple counts of furnishing women controlled substances and multiple counts of rape. The specific controlled substance the athlete used to sedate the women was Zolpidem, a sleep medication that is commonly referred to as Ambien.

The rape incidents allegedly happened in 2013 and 2014, when on multiple occasions the man picked women up from nightclubs after spiking their drinks. After bringing them back to his hotel room, the football player proceeded to assault the women.

The athlete has already been sentenced to nine years in jail relating to his no-contest plea of drugging three women and raping two women in Phoenix. However, there were more cases of drugging and raping in California, Louisiana and Nevada, which he is also litigating in criminal court.

Athlete to Be Incarcerated in Federal Prison

According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, the 39-year-old football player could be sentenced to a total of 20 years relating to his combined offenses and punishments. He has already served almost a year of that time in custody since his arrest, so he might be able to secure his release on parole after serving just nine years. According to prosecutors, the athlete's combined prison time will be served in federal prison.

Ultimately, Sharper's sentencing hearing will not happen until July 15.

When the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the prosecution's version of the facts, as was likely the case in criminal proceedings brought against Sharper, the accused may seek to lessen the severity of his or her ultimate punishment by entering a plea of no-contest. This is likely the defense strategy pursued by Sharper in the instant proceedings.