Over two hours of emotional testimony Thursday, the ex-girlfriend of 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster said she “lied a lot” about him beating her. Based on Elissa Ennis’s initial allegations, police arrested Foster on Feb. 11, and he was charged last month with three felonies, including domestic violence, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possession of an assault weapon.
Later in April, though, Ennis first recanted her claims, including accusations that Foster punched her in the head eight to 10 times and dragged her by the hair while throwing her out of his Los Gatos, Calif., home. During a preliminary hearing Thursday at the San Jose Hall of Justice, Ennis, 28, reiterated her assertion that she acted out of anger at Foster after he said he wanted to break up with her.
“I wanted him to go down. I was p—-d,” Ennis told the courtroom (via the Sacramento Bee).
Ennis also described her actions as “a money scheme,” and said that after Foster was arrested, she took $8,000 in cash and two Rolex watches that belonged to him while returning to her home state of Louisiana. She has since returned the money but said she still has the watches, in a safe-deposit box.
“I didn’t want it to get this far in the news,” said Ennis, who broke down in tears several times. “It was about money.”
Foster, 24, pleaded not guilty earlier this month, and if convicted of all charges, he could face 11 years in prison. The 49ers, who drafted the former Alabama star in the first round last year, have placed him on an informal suspension while the “legal process” plays out, and have said that “if these charges are proven true,” they will release him.
When police arrived at Foster’s house after Ennis called 911, they found scratches and marks on various parts of her body. She said Thursday that those injuries came from a 15-minute-long fight she got into with a motorist the day before, one that she thought led to Foster’s desire to end their relationship.
A 22-second video clip purporting to show that fight surfaced on social media, and Ennis’s attorney, Stephanie Rickard, said last month that the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office has a copy of it. Despite Ennis’s claims, prosecutors pressed their case, with deputy district attorney Kevin Smith saying Thursday that a ruptured eardrum she suffered would have been consistent with getting hit by the 6-1, 228-pound player, and that the condition of her hands did not indicate that she had recently been an aggressor in a lengthy physical altercation.
“Clearly, the issue here is what statement do you believe,” Smith said (via the San Francisco Chronicle). “And it’s not just one statement. It’s one consistent statement she told police, her mother and her brother versus the inconsistent recent statement.”
“I’m sorry,” Ennis said. “I really am. I apologize to everybody. I really am sorry.”
The judge in the case, Nona Klippen, said she would rule next week on whether enough evidence had been established to move forward to a jury trial, which would take place in July.
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