Elissa Ennis

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Elissa Ennis leaving court after testifying on Thursday, May 17, 2018

Elissa Ennis is the ex-girlfriend of Reuben Foster, an NFL linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. In May 2018, she testified that she falsely accused Reuben Foster of domestic violence in an attempt to extort money from him. Elissa Ennis also testified that she falsely accused another man of domestic violence in a similar extortion scheme in 2011. [2] [3]

2011 False Accusation

On May 17, 2018, under questioning from Foster’s attorney Joshua Bentley, Elissa Ennis admitted to attempting to get a previous boyfriend arrested for domestic violence in 2011 in an extortion scheme. She testified at the Santa Clara Hall of Justice. [2]

Bentley asked her the following: [2]

You knew in this case when Reuben Foster broke up with you, you were going to go to your playbook and ruin his career. Isn’t that true?

“Yes, sir,” Elissa Ennis said. [2]

On Thursday, May 17, 2018 court officials in Baton Rouge, Louisiana confirmed to Mercury News that Elissa Ennis was arrested on suspicion of two counts of aggravated assault on Nov. 4, 2011, but the case was dismissed two years later. There is no official record of any false report of domestic violence, but that typically would not have been booked since police had stronger allegations for which to arrest her. [2]

2018 False Accusation

Elissa Ennis leaves court with her attorney after testifying at the Santa Clara Hall of Justice on Thursday May 17, 2018 [8]

Elissa Ennis testified that she "was threatening Reuben" and that she was "going to fuck up his career" over their breakup. Ennis said she actually attacked Foster with a hanger and fled to Louisiana with Foster's money and jewelry after he was arrested in February, 2018. [3]

"I wanted to be extra," Elissa Ennis said about calling the police three times, according to Inman. "I wanted him to go down. I was pissed." [3]

Elissa Ennis also testified, "I told him I'm going to fuck your shit up and make sure you don't have a job tomorrow." [3]

Reuben Foster walking to the Santa Clara Hall of Justice on Thursday May 17, 2018 [2]

She denied she is receiving any money from Foster or anyone else for recanting her initial accusations that threatened to derail Reuben Foster’s football career. [2]

Elissa Ennis often struggled with her recall of events, particularly the night before Foster’s February 11, 2018 arrest, when she said got into a fight with two women in San Francisco, which caused the injuries she told Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department that Reuben Foster caused. [2]

Elissa Ennis repeatedly said she couldn’t recall what she told police, which was the basis of the criminal charges. Her testimony at the preliminary hearing on May 17, 2018 will determine if Foster will go to trial for domestic violence charges. [2]

Elissa Ennis’ attorney, Stephanie Rickard, stated in court Thursday that she advised her client against testifying, and had urged her to plead the Fifth Amendment and her right against self-incrimination. [2]

In her initial allegations, Elissa Ennis told Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police that Reuben Foster “punched her in the head 8 to 10 times,” rupturing her eardrum, but also that Foster hit her “hard, but not that hard,” according to a police report. The report also includes the allegation that Foster threw Ennis’ dog across a room during an earlier argument. [2]

The night of the alleged beating Elissa Ennis flagged down a passing motorist outside the Los Gatos, California home she shared with Foster. The motorist, Eugenio Pirir, testified Thursday that Ennis was calm and “she wasn’t panicking” when she asked to use his cell phone. [2]

Elissa Ennis also testified that after Foster was arrested she went home to Louisiana, taking a safe deposit box that contained Foster’s jewelry and money. [2] She testified that she stole more than $8,000 in cash from Foster and two Rolex watches. Ennis said that she later returned the cash but has kept the two rolex watches. [14]

When asked by prosecutor Kevin Smith if she still loves Foster, Elissa Ennis replied, “I don’t love him, I need help for myself.” Then she said she plans to check herself into an unspecified clinic. [2]

Asked why she is risking perjury to exonerate Foster, Elissa Ennis said: “I had to do the right thing.” [2]

Of the purported lies against Foster, she said, ““It was all a money scheme. I didn’t want to get this far in the news. It was about money … I wanted to sue him on my own.” [2]

On cross examination, defense attorney Bentley — who has represented several 49ers players in the past — methodically questioned Ennis over her accusations and elicited repeated responses from Elissa Ennis: “Yes sir, that was a lie.” [2]

During the hearing, 911 calls were played, including one with Elissa Ennis frantic and another with her her calm and deliberate, stating, “My boyfriend, he beat me up.” [2]

Bentley asked her directly, “Did Mr. Foster ever hit you?” Elissa Ennis replied “No sir,” then broke down in tears. “I’m sorry. I really am. I apologize to everybody.” [2]

Elissa Ennis also says she lied about Foster throwing a dog across a room during an argument. “Why would you lie about that?” Bentley asked. Ennis replied, “I was pissed and I wanted to end him.” [2]

Elissa Ennis also acknowledged threatening to sell photos of Foster to TMZ showing him returning a Chevrolet Corvette he bought for her to drive. [2]

After nearly two hours of testimony, Elissa Ennis then left the courtroom in tears with her attorney and did not comment to reporters. [2]

Reuben Foster plead not guilty on May 8, 2018 to felony domestic violence and weapons charges and invoked his right to a speedy trial, a move that suggested confidence in his situation and accelerated the window for the Santa Clara County District Attorney ’s Office to build its case. Judge Nona Klippen will determine whether the evidence against Foster warrants a jury trial, or should be dismissed immediately. [2]

Two months after the arrest, Elissa Ennis recanted her allegations that led to Reuben Foster's February 11, 2018 arrest at their Los Gatos home. [2]

Foster is charged with felony domestic violence, forcefully attempting to dissuade a witness, and possession of an assault weapon. If convicted of all charges he faces 11 years in prison. [14] Under his speedy trial rights, if the judge clears the way for a trial on some or all of the charges, it would have to start within 60 days, or no later than July 9, 2018. [2]

According to Mercury News, legal experts not affiliated with the case described the decision by Foster’s defense as a shrewd legal strategy given the doubt that the accuser’s retraction has cast. [2]

Ennis maintains that a video on Instagram depicts a fight she had with another woman in a road rage encounter in San Francisco. It became the subject of a proxy fight over its veracity between Smith and Bentley, who questioned Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Detective Jim Wiens about his response to a Ennis’ claim two days after the arrest that she had lied. [2]

The extent of his follow-up on the fight claim and video amounted to conversations with Elissa Ennis, Ennis’ mother — to whom Ennis told about the purported fight — and a search for any arrests in San Francisco. But Wiens testified he was hampered by the absence of a precise location of the fight. [2]

Smith’s questioning of Wiens focused on the fact that there is nothing in the video to definitively prove when and where it happened. But Bentley, in a further questioning of the detective, alleged a lack of diligence by Wiens in not asking the doctors who examined Ennis about when the injuries occurred, and if there was a plausible cause for them other than Foster. [2]

According to Mercury News, it is unlikely prosecutors would exercise their option to file false reporting charges against Elissa Ennis because their own case rests on bolstering the authenticity of the initial account she gave to police, as well as relying on other independent evidence like medical records, witness accounts and the 911 call. [2]

The District Attorney’s Office proceeded in part on the notion that it is not uncommon for domestic violence victims to be unwilling to testify against their partners. Victim advocates, particularly those who focus on the partners and spouses of professional athletes, have maintained skepticism of retractions like the one Elissa Ennis issued, describing a troubling power dynamic where victims become reluctant after assessing how much they stand to lose personally and financially. [2]

The weapon charge, based on a SIG Sauer 516 short-barreled rifle seized from his home the morning of his arrest, could be separated from the case, but according to Mercury News on its own would the weapons charges are unlikely to threaten his freedom or football career provided there is no proof he menacingly used the firearm. [2]

Wiens affirmed under Bentley’s questioning that Foster legally purchased in Alabama — where Foster played college football — the rifle and another handgun recovered at his home. But the exchange did not address the legality of possessing such a rifle in California, which has stricter gun laws that also apply to weapons from out of state. [2]

Reuben Foster has been ordered to stay away from his accuser and remains free on $75,000 bail. He also voluntarily has agreed to stay away from the 49ers facility during offseason workouts. The team has said it will cut him if it’s proven he hit Ennis, and he still could face at least a six-week NFL suspension based on its domestic violence policy. [2] The 49ers have placed Foster on an informal suspension while the “legal process” plays out and have said that “if these charges are proven true,” they will release him. [14]

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