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MARCH 12 — Former NFL safety Darren Sharper has been charged with two more counts of sexual assault and three more counts of administering dangerous drugs, this time in Arizona, where he allegedly raped two women in November.

Detectives from Tempe served Sharper's attorney with a grand jury indictment on those charges Wednesday morning, making Arizona the second state to file formal sexual assault charges against Sharper, 38.

"I talked to Darren, and he vigorously denies the allegations," Sharper's Arizona attorney, Skip Donau, told USA TODAY Sports. "We're going to contest them vigorously, and we expect at the end of the process he'll be vindicated."

He also noted that Sharper had a prior relationship with one of the alleged victims in Arizona.

The former Pro Bowler is suspected by police of date-raping nine women in five states: two in Los Angeles, two in Arizona, two in New Orleans, two in Las Vegas and one in Miami Beach.

So far, only authorities in Los Angeles and Arizona have filed formal charges against him while other states continue their investigations. Sharper pleaded not guilty to felony charges in Los Angeles on Feb. 20 and was released on $1 million bail. He was taken back into custody on Feb. 27 after authorities in New Orleans issued a no-bail warrant for his arrest, which accused him of raping two other women there on Sept. 23.

Since his arrest on that warrant, Sharper has been incarcerated in Los Angeles while his attorneys worked to have him released. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Renee Korn indicated in a hearing last week that she was inclined to release him on bail again Thursday unless New Orleans authorities filed formal charges against him by the time of his hearing that day in California.

So far, New Orleans authorities only have issued an arrest warrant in that case.

"To hold him in perpetuity on an arrest warrant seems to be grotesquely unfair," Korn said in court last week.

LEGAL LIMBO: Sharper in jail in Los Angeles

SHARPER'S ATTORNEY: Said acts were consensual

The new Arizona indictment could change that. If he's released after Thursday's hearing in Los Angeles, he might go right back to jail in the Arizona case. Tempe police spokesman Michael Pooley told USA TODAY Sports that Arizona authorities have issued a no-bail indictment for Sharper, meaning he cannot be released on bail for his charges there.

With allegations pending against him in multiple states, his prosecution and bail status could remain complicated. In court last week, Los Angeles prosecutor Javan Wygal told Judge Korn that state law allows the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office to keep Sharper in California while local charges are pending. California was the first state to formally charge Sharper.

The California law says that prosecutors there "don't have to send anybody anywhere until their case is resolved," said Donau, who plans to meet with Arizona prosecutors next week about Sharper's possible extradition to Arizona.

According to police reports and court records, Sharper's actions followed a similar pattern in many of the cases: He parties with the women, then offers them drinks laced with sedatives and rapes them while they are unconscious. Sharper's attorneys have disputed the allegations, saying the evidence is weak and implying that any sex that happened was consensual.

Tests in the Arizona case showed the presence of zolpidem, also known as Ambien, on a drink cup. Sharper's attorneys argued that he has a prescription for Ambien and that such evidence is therefore not incriminating.

NEW ORLEANS: Did Sharper make an admission?

According to the police report from Tempe, Sharper made cocktails for two women after a night of partying. One of the women passed out almost immediately after drinking it, and the other started feeling ill, the report said.

When the woman who felt sick went to the bathroom, she said she became alarmed when she observed Sharper naked, on top of the other woman on the couch, the records show.

The woman stated she was "taken aback by what she saw and stood there for a while wondering if she should intervene," according to the police report.

"She reported being concerned that the sexual act was not consensual because she did not know if (the other woman) was awake," the report said.

After being seen, Sharper then knocked on the woman's door in an apparent attempt to explain, saying that he and the girl on the couch "have something going on."

A third woman in the apartment woke up naked from the waist down and had no memory of how her clothing was removed. When she confronted Sharper about what had happened, Sharper allegedly replied, "I don't really remember. I guess I could have done that. I'm really sorry."

The report noted that this woman wasn't sure if she wanted to aid the prosecution.

Sharper played with the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings and retired after the 2010 season. He then worked as an analyst with the NFL Network until his contract was terminated recently amid the mounting allegations.

Follow Brent Schrotenboer on Twitter @Schrotenboer. E-mail: bschrotenb@usatoday.com

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