49ers' Foster won't stand trial on domestic violence charges
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A Santa Clara County judge has ruled that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will not have to stand trial on domestic violence charges after the accuser recanted her allegations at a preliminary hearing.
Judge Nona Klippen said Wednesday that prosecutors didn't meet the burden of probable cause on charges of felony domestic violence and forcefully attempting to dissuade a witness.
Foster was also charged with felony possession of an assault weapon after officers found a Sig Sauer 516 short-barreled rifle in his home while investigating his ex-girlfriend's domestic violence report. That charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.
The 49ers have not allowed Foster to take part in the offseason program while he dealt with these charges and general manager John Lynch said he would be cut from the team if it was determined that he hit a woman.
Elissa Ennis testified last week that she lied to the police when she accused Foster of attacking her in February. She said she wanted retribution after Foster tried to end their relationship, saying she was angry "and I wanted to end him." She testified that Foster never hit her.
Foster was arrested after Ennis told police he dragged her by her hair, physically threw her out of their house, and punched her in the head eight to 10 times in February.
Prosecutors had continued to pursue the case despite Ennis' recantation. The prosecution said her testimony at last week's hearing couldn't be trusted given inconsistencies throughout.
Ennis testified that Foster broke up with her after she got into a fight with another woman during a road rage incident in San Francisco. She said her injuries resulted from that fight. A 22-second video clip of the fight was presented as evidence in the case.
During cross-examination by Foster's attorney Joshua Bentley, Ennis said she went to jail in 2011 for falsely accusing an ex-boyfriend of domestic violence.
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 in 10 games as a rookie and looking like a key part of San Francisco's defensive future.
Foster then was charged in January in Alabama with second-degree marijuana possession before the incident in February that led to this case. Foster is due in court next month for a hearing in his marijuana case.
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