SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster appeared in court Monday and will return again next week after Santa Clara County prosecutors asked for more time to study evidence submitted by Foster’s ex-girlfriend that supposedly proves he did not harm her.
Foster, 24, was arrested on Feb. 11 when his then-girlfriend flagged down a stranger’s car to call 911 and told responding sheriff’s deputies and Los Gatos police that the NFL player had dragged her by her hair, threw her out of the house and punched her in the head eight to 10 times, leaving her bruised and with a ruptured eardrum.
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Foster’s former girlfriend Elissa Ennis recanted her original allegations on Thursday, stating that the injuries she reported to authorities were not caused by Foster, but rather by a physical fight she had with another woman, her attorney Stephanie Rickard said.
Rickard said Ennis told investigators that Foster had hurt her because he attempted to end his relationship with her after learning about the fight.
“She was extremely upset and told him if he broke up with her she would ‘trash his career,'” Rickard said in a statement.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed charges despite Ennis coming clean about what she had done, according to her attorney.
Monday, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jim Demertzis asked for more time to review the alleged fight footage and Judge Nona Klippen granted the motion, moving Foster’s plea out to May 8.
Foster’s case was to be the first item addressed in court but was suddenly delayed when a court reporter said that they had received a call that Rickard and Ennis were on their way. Ennis never showed up to the hearing.
Demertzis would not discuss any of the details of the submitted video “out of respect for Foster’s due process.”
Demertzis said the District Attorney’s Office understands that the changes in the case have prompted a lot of questions, but stressed that the public should keep in mind one thing: it’s common for domestic violence victims to work against the system that is designed to protect them.
“Sadly, too often, victims of domestic violence for a host of reasons choose not to cooperate with the process that holds their abuser accountable,” Demertzis said.
A misdemeanor ammunition charge related to a large capacity magazine found during a police search of the couple’s home was also formally dropped Monday. The ammunition matched a Sig Sauer 516 assault rifle found at the residence.
A statement from prosecutors earlier this month had already indicated that the ammunition charge would be dismissed since a recent federal court injunction in San Diego blocked a law banning large capacity gun magazines.
One week ago, the 49ers said they would release Foster is the allegations proved to be true.
Foster could face a six-game suspension from the NFL if he is formally charged with domestic violence. A second charge could lead to a lifetime ban.
The latest arrest has continued a pattern for the 49ers. Despite changes in both the coaching staff and the front office, the team has had an ongoing problem with players getting into legal trouble.
17 players for the 49ers have been arrested since 2012, the most in the NFL for that period of time.
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