The woman who accused San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster of dragging her by the hair down stairs, hitting her in the head eight to 10 times and throwing her dog across a room testified during a preliminary hearing on Thursday that she made everything up.
Elissa Ennis, described as Foster’s live-in girlfriend at the time of the alleged incident, said she lied about the linebacker because he told her their relationship had come to an end and what followed was a “money scheme” that got out of her control.
She also said she had done this before.
Ennis said she had gone to jail for falsely accusing a man of domestic violence. Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group reported that Ennis had been arrested on Nov. 4, 2011, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her case was dismissed on Sept. 18, 2013.
At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Nora L. Klippen said she would announce her ruling on the case at 5:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, California.
At a preliminary hearing, the prosecution needs to show probable cause that a crime has been committed for the defendant to be bound over for trial.
Foster is charged 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.
Foster pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 8.
The judge could dismiss any or all of the charges against Foster or have any or all of the charges advanced to a jury trial within 60 days.
Foster was arrested after the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department responded to a 911 call from a Los Gatos, California, home on Feb. 11. Ennis told police that Foster had thrown her out of their home three times that day, and police photographed Ennis’ injuries at the scene, recording a swollen lip, scratches and a cut on the back of her neck and a scraped knee. She also complained about her left ear, which turned out to have a ruptured ear drum.
But Ennis told the court on Thursday that she’d told authorities two days later that she’d made up the accusations. Ennis said the injuries had been sustained the night before in a road-rage fight with another woman, which had been something of a last straw for her relationship with Foster.
Ennis told the court that she wanted to “kill” Foster when he told her they were through on the morning of Feb. 11. But short of that, she sought to ruin his football career and turn a profit on the breakup. Ennis said she took $8,000 in cash and two Rolex watches — all Foster’s — with her when she flew home to Louisiana after Foster’s arrest. The watches still are in Louisiana.
Ennis’ lawyer, Stephanie Rickard, said he had advised her client to plead the Fifth Amendment rather than testify at the preliminary hearing.
Ennis said Foster had not paid her to change her story. Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department detective Jason Wiens testified there was no evidence that Ennis and Foster had communicated between her accusations and the first time she told authorities that she had lied about Foster.
Wiens said he had doubts about Ennis changing her story, and he did not follow up on her claim to have been injured in a fight with another woman. The detective also said he didn’t know about Ennis’ similar situation in Louisiana.
The prosecution played a 911 call from Ennis during which she said, “My boyfriend’s beating me up,” and pointed out that Ennis had changed her story to police about lying. When she initially said she’d lied about Foster, she said she had received the injuries in a fight outside a bar in San Francisco. After video of Ennis fighting another woman in the road-rage incident appeared on Instagram in March, she told authorities that was really how she’d been injured.
The weapons charge against Foster stems from a Sig Sauer 516 short-barreled rifle found in the bathroom floor when police responded to the 911 call. They also found a .38-caliber pistol. Both guns were loaded.
The police detective testified both guns had been purchased legally in Alabama.
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Foster made the Pro Football Writers Association’s All-Rookie team for the 2017 season after the 49ers traded up to select him with the 31st pick in last year’s draft.
Foster missed six of San Francisco’s first eight games during his rookie season because of the injuries. But in the second half of the season, Foster was on the field for every game, and San Francisco, which started the season 0-8, went 6-2. Despite his missed time, Foster finished second on the team in tackles.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.