SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - A Santa Clara County judge decided Wednesday afternoon at a preliminary hearing to not pursue charges of felony domestic violence against 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster.
The announcement came just before 4:00 p.m. and six days after Foster’s former girlfriend took the stand for nearly two hours, where she vigorously confessed to lying about the abuse allegations and admitted to stealing $8,000 and some jewelry from Foster. Elissa Ennis, 28, said she fabricated the story and threatened Foster’s career because she was mad he broke up with her.
Judge Nona Klippen ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the domestic violence charge. Foster's additional charge in the Feb. 11 arrest -- possession of an assault weapon -- was dropped to a misdemeanor.
The 49ers General Manager John Lynch released a statement regarding Foster's stance with the team:
"The organization is aware of the domestic violence charges against Reuben Foster were dismissed earlier today. As a result, he will have the opportunity to rejoin the team tomorrow. It has been made clear to Reuben that his place on this team is one that must continue to be earned. We will continue to monitor the remaining misdemeanor charge."
Foster exited the courthouse Wednesday to a sea of reporters asking him various questions, some asking if he'd be in Santa Clara with the team tomorrow. And when asked if he was relieved by the judge's decision, Foster gave a thumbs up.
But as for the District Attorney's office, they weren't so happy with the decision. They also released a statement following the ruling:
“We are disappointed in the judge’s decision. We are disappointed because the evidence demonstrated that Mr. Foster seriously hurt his girlfriend. Some have wondered why we still think Mr. Foster hurt his girlfriend when she said that he didn’t. Recantation is common among domestic violence victims. Some are scared, some feel guilty, some are coerced, some need money. Whatever the cause, we move forward on cases when victims falsely recant because we know that if we don’t more victims will be hurt. Our commitment to domestic violence survivors is unwavering.”
Judge Klippen made sure to explain her extensive review of the case, noting that she couldn't just trust the recantation and that she analyzed to make sure Ennis' change of heart wasn't coerced. The judge said she reviewed 911 calls, witness statements and photographs of the injuries before deciding she believed Ennis was lying.