49ers’ linebacker Reuben Foster was in court again today, with events proceeding in manner that increasingly calls into question the efficacy of the prosecution’s case and indeed the conduct of the prosecution.
Foster’s accuser, his ex-girlfriend Elissa Ennis, testified today, contrary to the advice of her attorney, who had suggested exercising her fifth amendment right. This point is particularly pertinent given it was revealed in cross-examination by Foster’s attorney that Ennis has spent time in jail for falsely accusing a different ex-boyfriend of hers of domestic violence. This information should have been known by the prosecution, but at this stage it is unclear whether the sort of due diligence that can be expected of the prosecution was carried out.
Ennis’ testimony re-iterated what she had made clear when recanting her original claim, that Foster did not assault her and that she had made the accusation in order to attempt to ruin his career. She claims she verbalised that threat to Foster, in addition to texting it to him. This latter point could have formed a crucial part of the 49ers’ own making decision making process, as they could have seen physical evidence of Ennis’ threat to Foster, and thus felt reasonably confident that they could stand by their player and be vindicated in doing so.
Further to Ennis’ testimony, where she stated that Foster neither assaulted her, nor threw her phones or her dog, the passer by whose phone Ennis borrowed testified that Ennis appeared calm. Whilst this clearly does not definitively suggest that Foster did not assault her, it does serve the benefit of strengthening the case of the defence, who can combine this evidence with Ennis’ own testimony that Foster did not assault her.
Given the seemingly overwhelming nature of the evidence that favours Foster, it seems reasonable to question the decision making and professionalism of the prosecution. Whilst the desire to bring domestic violence cases to trial is undoubtedly a necessity and indeed should be lauded, in this specific circumstance the desire seems to have been misplaced. Instead, the prosecution is left looking either incompetent or having deliberately attempted to pursue Foster in order to satisfy other ambitions. That is undoubtedly embarrassing.
Following the days proceedings, the judge announced she would announce her decision as to whether Foster would stand trial on May 23rd.