San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will find out next week if he will stand trial on domestic violence charges, but in a preliminary hearing Thursday his ex-girlfriend said she lied about her accusations.
Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group reported that a judge will rule on May 23 if a trial is needed in Foster’s case.
Foster, a 49ers first-round pick last year, was arrested on Feb. 11 and charged with felony domestic violence. He was accused of dragging his then-girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, and punching her in the head multiple times. Among Ennis’ injuries was a ruptured eardrum.
In a preliminary hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Ennis said she lied about Foster hitting her, and she made it up to harm his career. Inman reported from court that Ennis denied she is receiving money from anyone, including Foster, for recanting her initial accusations.
The judge still hasn’t ruled on whether a trial is needed after citing cited conflicting statements and photos, Inman tweeted.
Foster’s ex-girlfriend says she hit him
Ennis gave some dramatic testimony, in which she claimed that not only did he not hit her, she was the one who hit him.
Inman tweeted that Foster’s ex-girlfriend said “I was threatening Reuben … that I was going to (expletive) up his career.” She also said she called 911 three times because “I wanted to be extra. I wanted him to go down. I was pissed.” According to Inman, Ennis said she struck Foster with a hanger.
It had been expected that Foster’s ex-girlfriend would testify that he did not strike her. In late April Ennis hired a lawyer and recanted her story, even though she had made very specific claims to police about what happened on the day in question. Ennis said in court Thursday that she lied about many details, including one that claimed Foster threw her dog across the room. She said she lied because she knew the breakup was final, Inman reported from court, and “I was pissed and I wanted to end him.”
Accuser admitted a false domestic violence claim in 2011
Inman reported that Ennis admitted that in 2011 she went to jail for another false claim of domestic violence against an ex-boyfriend. Inman said she was charged with two counts of aggravated assault in Baton Rouge, and the case was dismissed in 2013.
Reuben Foster attorney Joshua Bentley to Elissa Ennis:
“You knee in this case when Reuben Foster broke up with you that you were going to go to your playbook and ruin his career. Isn’t that true?”
Ennis: “Yes sir”
Few minutes later, after 2-hour testimony, she left court in tears
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) May 17, 2018
“A money scheme”
Ennis also said she when she left Foster and went to Louisiana after making the claims, she left with some of his jewelry and $8,000. Inman reported the cash was recovered but Ennis said the jewelry is in a safe deposit box in Louisiana.
“It was all a money scheme,” Ennis said in court, via Inman. “I didn’t want to get this far in the news. It was about money … I wanted to sue him on my own.”
Ennis’ attorney said she urged her client to plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, according to the Mercury News, but Ennis said she testified because “I had to do the right thing.”
What will the NFL do?
Even if the case is dropped after Ennis’ testimony on Thursday, the NFL has suspended players before based on claims and not a guilty verdict in domestic violence cases. Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is the most notable example of that. Foster also was charged with possession of an assault weapon, which stemmed from the police coming to investigate the domestic violence incident, and the NFL could punish him for that.
Foster has to wait until next week to find out if he’ll stand trial. After that, he’ll wait to hear from the NFL.
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