Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Domestic violence charges against 49ers LB Reuben Foster dropped

May 23, 2018 at 3:52 PM--

Judge Nona Klippen ruled on Wednesday that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the domestic violence case against San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster.

Foster was facing felony 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. The judge dropped the former two charges while reducing the weapon charge to a misdemeanor. The pretrial date for that charge is set for June 6.

Safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert were at the courthouse in Santa Clara on Wednesday as a show of support for their teammate. With the domestic violence charges dropped, Foster is free to rejoin the 49ers. He has not taken part in team activities since the charges were announced on April 12.

"The organization is aware the domestic violence charges against Reuben Foster were dismissed earlier today," 49ers general manager John Lynch said via a statement issued to the media. "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."

The development doesn't necessarily mean that Foster has escaped discipline from the NFL. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported on May 15 that the league is still likely to launch its own investigation with the weapon charge and the arrest in January for second-degree marijuana possession still unresolved.

"Even if he is able to avoid any legal situation, if he doesn't serve any time legally ... there's still going to be an NFL investigation, " Garafolo said. "The league might have their say on this one as well."

"We continue to monitor all developments in the matter, which remains under review," said an NFL spokesman via Bay Area News Group after the charges were dropped on Wednesday.

The prosecution's case against Foster took a devastating turn last week when Elissa Ennis, the ex-girlfriend of the linebacker, testified that her initial accusations were all lies. Those accusations were the basis of the Santa Clara DA's case against the NFL star.

Ennis admitted on the record that she wanted to ruin Foster's career after he broke up with her and that, in 2011, she went to jail for falsely accusing another former boyfriend of domestic violence after he ended the relationship. She vowed to seek professional help.

"I told [Reuben], 'I'm going to f--k your s--t up,'" Ennis said.

Foster was arrested on February 11 as a result of Ennis' accusations. While she initially told responding sheriff's deputies and Los Gatos police that her bruises and ruptured eardrum were a result of Foster hitting her several times, she changed her story on April 25. Ennis' new version of what transpired included a physical fight with another woman (or multiple women, depending on the report). Foster attempted to end their relationship after the altercation and Ennis said she had video evidence that would clear Foster's name of the domestic violence charges.

"I wanted to sue Reuben," Ennis said. "It was all a money scheme."

Ennis stated that Foster never struck her.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I really am. I apologize to everybody."

The 49ers made Foster one of their two first-round selections in last year's draft. He was the team's highest-graded player last season, the highest-graded rookie linebacker, and the fourth highest-graded linebacker overall, according to Pro Football Focus. Foster registered 72 combined tackles with a pass defensed through 10 starts in 2017.

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