49er’s ex-girl­friend re­cants charges of abuse

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Ser­noff­sky

Reuben Fos­ter’s ex-girl­friend re­canted al­le­ga­tions Thurs­day that the San Francisco 49ers line­backer beat her up, say­ing in­stead that she made up the do­mes­tic assault and lied to po­lice and her fam­ily af­ter Fos­ter broke off their re­la­tion­ship.

Elissa En­nis, 28, took the stand at the Hall of Jus­tice in San Jose for two hours, tear­fully tes­ti­fy­ing in a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing about what she said re­ally hap­pened the morn­ing of Feb. 11 at Fos­ter’s Los Gatos home.

She said she told Fos­ter, “I’m about to f— your s— up. You’re not go­ing to have a job no more,” be­fore calling po­lice with a story that he dragged her by her hair and punched her 10 times in the head and back.

En­nis had a bruised face, scratches and cuts on her back, knee and neck when of­fi­cers arrived that morn­ing, po­lice said. But on Thurs­day, she said she sus­tained the in­juries in a fight with two women the night prior in San Francisco.

En­nis’ tes­ti­mony ex­panded on a pub­lic state­ment she is-

sued through her at­tor­ney in April , say­ing she made up the al­le­ga­tions against Fos­ter. Of­fi­cials with the Santa Clara County dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice, though, said they still be­lieved Fos­ter com­mit­ted the at­tack based on the ev­i­dence and have pro­ceeded with the case.

Fos­ter, 24, was charged with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, force­fully at­tempt­ing to pre­vent a vic­tim from re­port­ing a crime and possession of an assault weapon in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent at his home on Shan­non Road.

The 49ers, who have seen sev­eral play­ers face do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and other charges in re­cent years, are closely watch­ing the case. Gen­eral man­ager John Lynch has said the team would re­lease Fos­ter if he’s found guilty .

“I do want to be very clear, abun­dantly clear, that if these charges are proven true, if Reuben did in­deed hit this young lady, he won’t be part of our or­ga­ni­za­tion mov­ing for­ward,” Lynch said.

In a bomb­shell rev­e­la­tion Thurs­day while un­der cros­sex­am­i­na­tion, En­nis ad­mit­ted hav­ing a his­tory of ly­ing about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. In her home state of Louisiana in 2011, she said, she falsely ac­cused an­other boyfriend of beat­ing her up af­ter he broke up with her.

En­nis said her plan was to sue Fos­ter in civil court as part of a “money scheme,” but once the crim­i­nal charges were filed, “things had gone too far.”

“I’m sorry,” En­nis said, wip­ing away tears with tis­sues. “I re­ally am. I apol­o­gize to every­body. I re­ally am sorry.”

Af­ter calling 911 three times from the house the morn­ing of Feb. 11, En­nis went on to tell po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors, hos­pi­tal staff and her fam­ily mem­bers that Fos­ter had as­saulted her and had thrown their dog across the room.

“Clearly, the is­sue here is, what state­ment do you be­lieve?” Kevin Smith, an as­sis­tant dis­trict at­tor­ney, said in court Thurs­day. “And it’s not just one state­ment. It’s one con­sis­tent state­ment she told po­lice, her mother and her brother ver­sus the in­con­sis­tent re­cent state­ment.”

Po­lice said they found a Sig Sauer ri­fle on a down­stairs bath­room floor of the home that vi­o­lated Cal­i­for­nia’s as­saultweapons ban. Fos­ter’s at­tor­ney, Joshua Bent­ley, said his client legally pur­chased the weapon in Alabama.

En­nis started back­ing off her story once she flew home to her mother’s house in Louisiana. Three days af­ter ar­riv­ing home, En­nis said, she told a Los Gatos po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tor that she’d re­ally been in­jured in a fight in San Francisco.

She tes­ti­fied that when she got to Fos­ter’s home the night of the fight, he asked what hap­pened to her face but “didn’t want to talk to me. He was mad.”

The next morn­ing, while she was cook­ing break­fast, Fos­ter “broke up with me,” she said. “It hurt.”

Fos­ter then be­gan throw­ing her cloth­ing into a pile in the home foyer, En­nis tes­ti­fied, and she at­tacked him.

“I tried to hit him with a hanger and he just ran out of the house,” she said. “I wanted to kill him, I was so hurt.”

That’s when En­nis said she called po­lice, threw her phone at Fos­ter, ran and flagged down a pass­ing mo­torist, and called 911 again from the man’s phone.

Af­ter po­lice in­ter­viewed En­nis and Fos­ter at the home and she was treated at a hos­pi­tal, En­nis said she grabbed more than $8,000 of Fos­ter’s cash and two Rolex watches and bolted back to Louisiana. Fos­ter has since re­cov­ered the money, she said, but she still has the watches in a safe de­posit box at a bank back home.

En­nis told the court that she came back to Fos­ter’s home to take care of their dog af­ter he was ar­rested, and that they took a trip with her mother and her child from an­other re­la­tion­ship to Dis­ney World af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Fos­ter had pur­chased a Corvette that En­nis would drive when they were dat­ing, she said, and upon her re­turn to Cal­i­for­nia af­ter the episode, he made her fol­low him to the deal­er­ship to re­turn the sports car.

En­nis ad­mit­ted tak­ing pictures of Fos­ter as he dropped the Corvette off, and said she threat­ened to sell them to the celebrity gos­sip web­site TMZ.

On March 13, En­nis said, a friend sent her an email with a video of the al­leged fight in San Francisco. The video had been posted on so­cial me­dia and showed En­nis fight­ing the women, she said. The dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice has the video, but pros­e­cu­tors said it’s un­clear where and when it was shot.

En­nis ended her tes­ti­mony shortly be­fore noon and abruptly left the court­house amid a frenzy of tele­vi­sion news cam­eras.

Santa Clara County Su­pe­rior Court Judge Nona Klip­pen said she will rule Wed­nes­day whether there is enough ev­i­dence for the case to pro­ceed to trial.

Mar­cio Jose Sanchez / As­so­ci­ated Press

49ers line­backer Reuben Fos­ter (cen­ter) ar­rives in court with his at­tor­ney Joshua Bent­ley in San Jose. A judge is ex­pected to rule next week whether there is enough ev­i­dence for the case to go to trial.

Mar­cio Jose Sanchez / As­so­ci­ated Press

Elissa En­nis, ex-girl­friend of 49ers line­backer Reuben Fos­ter, leaves court af­ter tes­ti­fy­ing that her ear­lier ac­count was a lie.


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