SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — San Francisco 49ers star linebacker Reuben Foster pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor assault weapon possession charge and will serve 232 hours of community service, court officials said.
The charge — for owning a Sig Sauer 516 short-barreled rifle that was legally registered in Alabama — was the only count remaining from his arrest stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident at his Los Gatos home on Feb. 11th.
Foster will also be on two years probation and be barred from possessing guns or ammunition.
He was charged with felony domestic violence, forcefully attempting to dissuade a witness and felony possession of an assault weapon in the wake of the Feb 11th incident.
But the domestic violence charge was dropped after his former girlfriend — Elissa Ennis — recanted her claims that Foster had struck her in the head several times during an argument.
She testified at a May preliminary hearing that her injuries were caused by a fight with another woman and she gave prosecutors video of that fight. Ennis said she lied initially because she wanted retribution after Foster tried to end their relationship.
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Judge Nona Klippen said recantations aren’t uncommon in domestic violence cases but said there was no supporting evidence in this case that Foster had attacked Ennis and dropped the domestic violence charges.
Foster also had a misdemeanor marijuana case dismissed in Alabama this month when he completed a pretrial diversion program.
“Reuben is in a good spot right now,” 49ers defensive assistant Johnny Holland said. “He’s been through a lot in the offseason. Going through court cases you never know what’s going to happen. He still has a long road to go but he’s excited to be back out here. He’s family. We wanted to keep him encouraged while he was away and we welcomed him back.”
The 49ers drafted Foster 31st overall last year after questions about his health and character caused him to drop from being a possible top 10 pick.
Foster delivered on the field, ranking second on the team with 72 tackles despite being limited to 10 games as a rookie because of injuries. He is being counted on now to be a key part of San Francisco’s defensive future.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.