SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Elissa Ennis, the former girlfriend of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, testified Thursday in a preliminary hearing that Foster never put his hands on her and that she "lied a lot" to authorities about an alleged domestic violence incident.
Ennis, who testified against the advice of her attorney Stephanie Rickard, said she made up the story because she wanted to ruin Foster's career and sue him for money after he broke up with her on the morning of Feb. 11. She also admitted to falsely accusing a former boyfriend of domestic violence in Louisiana in 2011 after he attempted to break up with her.
Ennis said she felt she needed to tell the truth because she "had to do the right thing," even if it meant admitting to previous lies to the police and to stealing money and two Rolex watches from Foster in the days after their breakup.
"I was pissed, and I wanted to end him," Ennis testified. When asked by prosecutor Kevin Smith if Foster ever hit her, Ennis replied, "No, sir. Not once."
By the time she was done, Ennis had been on the stand for about two hours and broke down in tears multiple times when recounting her and Foster's breakup, which she said led to her attempt to "ruin" Foster's career and execute what she called a "money scheme."
After Ennis broke down in tears again, Judge Nona L. Klippen offered a 10-minute recess so Ennis could compose herself. A tearful Ennis offered an apology to the court.
"I'm sorry. I really am," Ennis said. "I apologize to everybody."
At the end of the preliminary hearing, Klippen said she would take time to consider the evidence before making a ruling next Wednesday. If Klippen rules that any or all of the charges will continue to a jury trial, that would likely take place in July.
Foster, who arrived to the Santa Clara Hall of Justice on Thursday morning in a blue suit and pink dress shirt, sat stoically throughout Ennis' testimony, occasionally leaning over to speak with his attorney, Josh Bentley, and taking notes on a legal pad.
After the Feb. 11 incident at his home in Los Gatos, California, Foster was arraigned on felony charges of domestic violence, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possessing an assault weapon.
Those charges came after Ennis told authorities that Foster had hit her 8-10 times, dragged her out of his house, threw her to the ground and spit on her in a domestic altercation. Ennis alleged that Foster broke her phone and threw their dog at her. Among the injuries Ennis suffered was a ruptured eardrum that required a hospital visit later in the day.
She testified Thursday morning that all those allegations were lies.
"I was pissed, and I wanted to end him." Elissa Ennis
One day after those initial allegations were made, Ennis returned to her home in Louisiana and spoke again with authorities in Los Gatos via telephone. On Feb. 13, Ennis told Los Gatos Detective Jim Wiens that she had been involved in a fight in San Francisco and that she sustained her injuries there.
Wiens, who testified after Ennis, said he had doubts about that fight taking place and did not follow up with authorities in San Francisco because he did not have a location or further information to go on. Wiens testified that he was not aware of Ennis previously accusing a former boyfriend of domestic violence in Louisiana.
According to Ennis, she sustained her injuries in a fight that took place in San Francisco on the night of Feb. 10. After getting her hair done near Oakland, Ennis said she headed toward Pier 39 in San Francisco. After another driver cut her off, Ennis said she returned the favor and then her and the driver of the other car began motioning at each other before pulling to the side of the road.
From there, Ennis said she and the other driver engaged in an altercation that lasted about 15 minutes. While there was another woman in the other car, Ennis said she was unsure if that woman physically got involved in the fight.
A 22-second video of that fight turned up on social media soon after, and a friend of Ennis sent it to her in mid-March. Ennis then turned that video over to her attorney for review.
Wiens testified that when Ennis told him about the fight in San Francisco a couple days after the Los Gatos incident, she told him she had been at a bar drinking in San Francisco and the altercation happened then rather than as part of a road rage incident.
After returning to the Los Gatos home she shared with Foster, Ennis said she attempted to tell Foster about the altercation but that he didn't want to hear about it. When they woke up the next morning, Ennis was making Foster breakfast when he told her he wanted to end their relationship.
Ennis attributed Foster's decision to end the relationship to feeling "embarrassed" by her actions.
In the time since the Feb. 11 incident, Ennis said she has had little contact with Foster. In one of the few interactions, she acknowledged following Foster to a car dealership as he returned a Corvette, taking photos of the car and then sending them to Foster via text with threats that she would sell them to TMZ.
She also admitted to stealing more than $8,000 from Foster after taking his account and routing numbers. That money has since been seized by the bank and returned to Foster, but Ennis said she still has the two Rolexes she took from Foster in a safe deposit box in Louisiana. Ennis also said Thursday that she had been in touch with Foster recently because she was dealing with depression from the breakup and wanted his help so she could check herself into a clinic in Louisiana.
In addition to Wiens and Ennis, the only other testimony delivered in the morning came from a man who was driving the car that Ennis flagged down so she could call 9-1-1 on the morning of Feb. 11. That man testified that Ennis approached his car in a calm manner and asked to use his phone.
Ennis initially told authorities that she needed the phone because Foster broke hers, but she said that wasn't true and testified Thursday that she threw her phone at Foster after he broke up with her.
Smith, the Santa Clara County deputy district attorney, submitted multiple photos of Ennis' injuries into evidence Thursday as he examined the witnesses.
Following the lunch break, the final testimony of the day came from Los Gatos police officer Katrina Freeman. Freeman had been one of the responding officers and spoke to both Foster and Ennis on the morning of Feb. 11 but had not been involved in the case since. The only time during Thursday's proceedings that Foster showed any emotion was when Freeman was asked whether Foster "appeared agitated" when she spoke to him that morning and Freeman responded "I suppose." Foster shook his head "no" a few times in response.
To wrap up the day-long proceedings, Bentley requested that the two counts related to domestic violence not move forward and asked for the gun charge to be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor under California Penal Code 17, which refers to the charge as a "wobbler" that can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Smith argued that the photos of Ennis' injuries are consistent with victimization of a possible fight with Foster and Ennis' initial story and that Ennis' story about the fight the previous night had no corroboration. He also argued that the gun charge should move forward as a felony based on the fact that Foster had stored the gun in a bathroom with a bullet in the chamber and 30 more in a magazine.
Smith then offered that the case comes down to "which statement [made by Ennis] do you believe?"