San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster entered a formal not guilty plea on Tuesday to all three felony charges against him, according to a report from the Mercury News. His preliminary hearing, which will determine if the case goes to trial, is set for May 17.

Foster, who was the No. 31 overall pick by San Francisco in last year's draft, is facing charges of domestic violence with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily injury, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime, and possession of an assault weapon. He was arrested on February 11 following a reported altercation with his ex-girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, at his residence.

While each of the charges against Foster is a felony, the validity of the domestic violence charge has come into question in recent weeks. The alleged victim has changed her story since initially speaking with responding sheriff's deputies and Los Gatos police. She now claims that the charges against Foster are based on lies. Ennis released a statement on April 25 through her attorney stating she lied about what occurred on the day of the incident.

"(Foster) did not strike her, injure her or threaten her," read the statement. It went on to explain that Ennis' injuries were actually the result of a physical fight with another woman, not Foster. Responding authorities found her with bruises and a ruptured eardrum. Ennis' new story states that Foster tried to end his relationship with her following the altercation.


"She was extremely upset and told him if he broke up with her she would 'trash his career,'" read the statement.

Ennis even claimed to have video evidence that her injuries were the result of a fight with another woman. It was that evidence which delayed the plea hearing initially scheduled for April 30.

"Additional evidence was provided to the People that warrants further investigation so we can take this case to a just result," said Santa Clara DA prosecutor Jim Demertzis on April 30.

"The video is believed to show Ennis, following a road rage-type incident in or near San Francisco, fighting with a woman," reported the Sacramento Bee. "Blows are exchanged in the video and the unidentified woman appears to grab Ennis' left ear, which was the one that was ruptured."

The Sacramento Bee revealed several previously undisclosed details on Monday surrounding the events that led to Foster's arrest. They include the strong smell of marijuana noticed by responding authorities, the loaded Sig Sauer short-barreled rifle found on a bathroom floor, and Ennis' report that the linebacker had thrown her dog across the room the night before.

Foster finished last season with the team's highest player grade (90.7), according to Pro Football Focus. He was the highest-graded rookie linebacker last season and the fourth highest-graded linebacker overall. Foster started 10 games in 2017 while registering 72 combined tackles with a pass defensed.

Since being officially charged, Foster has neither participated in team activities nor has he been around the 49ers' facilities. General manager John Lynch and team officials met with Foster the day after the incident and have taken a patient approach as the legal process unfolds.

Lynch and the 49ers, who were initially surprised by the severity of the charges against Foster, have stated that the linebacker would not have a future with the organization if it were proven he hit Ennis.

"I do want to be abundantly clear that if these charges are proven true, if Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won't be a part of our organization going forward," Lynch said on April 23. "That's the standard we want on our team. That's the standard we're going to operate under."

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