San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster entered a not guilty plea in court Tuesday to three domestic violence-related charges.
Foster was charged April 12 with domestic violence with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily injury, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possession of an assault weapon, all felonies, as a result of ex-girlfriend Elissa Ennis claiming that Foster had become violent with her on Feb. 11.
Ennis told county sheriff’s deputies and Los Gatos police that the 24-year-old football player attacked her during an argument in their Los Gatos home when she flagged down a stranger’s car in order to call 911 that day.
Ennis stated that Foster had dragged her by her hair, threw her out of the house and punched her in the head eight to 10 times. This left her bruised and with a ruptured eardrum. Ennis later withdrew her allegations via her attorney, Stephanie Rickard, who said she had realized the repercussions of her actions on Foster’s career and apologized for the harm it had caused him and any others affected.
Ennis claimed that she had suffered the injuries from a physical fight she got into with another woman, and not with Foster.
Ennis submitted video footage to prosecutors, and Rickard said that Ennis went to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in an attempt to recant what she had told investigators, but prosecutors filed charges anyway.
The preliminary hearing will determine if the case has enough credibility, especially after Ennis recanted her allegations on April 26, to go to jury trial. This hearing is set for May 17. Ennis has not yet appeared in court.
The fact that Ennis lied to authorities could lead to her prosecution if she admits to it under oath, as it is a criminal act.
Ennis’ statement, Foster’s statement, the medical exam done and comments from the witness of the 911 call will all be considered during the preliminary hearing.
The 49ers have not released Foster from their roster in the wake of the allegations but released a statement the same day that they surfaced, calling his alleged actions disturbing and stating that his place on their team depends on what happens in the legal proceedings.