SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Prosecutors will move forward with the domestic violence case against Reuben Foster despite his former girlfriend’s claims that she lied about the incident and has a video to prove it.
Through her attorney, Elissa Ennis this week said she had made up the story about the 49ers linebacker having punched her and dragged her by her hair on Feb. 11, saying that the injuries she suffered were from a previous fight with a woman.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office has been given a video of the fight allegedly showing Ennis and another woman. Ennis said she was worried that Foster was trying to end their relationship and that she wanted to “trash” his career.
Prosecutors, however, have not been swayed.
They will continue with the case, in which the charges include an allegation that Foster inflicted great bodily injury — Ennis suffered a ruptured eardrum — forcefully attempted to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and was in possession of an assault weapon.
A hearing is set for Monday in San Jose.
Legal experts said it is far more difficult for prosecutors to win domestic violence cases without the cooperation of the alleged victim and they usually fall apart when the victim recants like Ennis has.
However, they may proceed if there is additional evidence, which the district attorney’s office appears to have in this case. That includes a call to 911, hospital records and police photos.
The district attorney’s office has said that Ennis flagged down a passing motorist to call police on the morning of Feb. 11 and it’s possible that the driver of the vehicle could be called to testify.
Ennis may be compelled to testify, too. Victims of domestic violence can’t be forced to take the stand. But if Ennis is saying she was not assaulted by Foster, she may not have that protection.
Foster has not been part of the 49ers’ offseason workouts, and the team has said he will stay away until the case is resolved or there’s a significant development. Jury selection is scheduled to begin in late July, though delays could push the trial into the NFL regular season.
Coach Kyle Shanahan on Thursday underscored the team’s intent if Foster is found guilty.
“We can promise you guys, if there’s someone who ever hits their significant other, girlfriends, some person like that, that person is not going to be on our team,” he said. “I feel strongly about that. I know John (Lynch) does. I know our ownership does. That’s how we feel about it.”