Legal analyst: 'This is a gamble worth taking for Reuben Foster'

Legal analyst: 'This is a gamble worth taking for Reuben Foster'

SAN JOSE – San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster on Tuesday put the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office on the clock to begin to prove its case.

Foster, through his attorney, Josh Bentley, entered a plea of not guilty to felony charges stemming from a Feb. 12 incident in Los Gatos. Foster is charged with 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.

A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday, May 17 at 9 a.m.

The alleged victim, Elissa Ennis, recanted the accusations she originally provided to police. On April 24, she released a statement through her attorney that said the charges against Foster were “based on lies.” She said the injuries she sustained, including a ruptured ear drum, were the result of a fight with another woman. The DA’s office has videotape of the alleged fight involving the two women.

“It’s fair to assume the videotape is the centerpiece of this case, and the prosecution wants to carefully review it and make sure it’s authentic,” said Steve Clark, legal analyst, a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.

Now, the DA’s office must proceed quickly and get ready for the preliminary hearing. Neither Bentley nor the DA’s office was available for comment following Tuesday’s hearing.

“What you saw today was Reuben Foster saying, ‘I’m ready for court and I want my day in court.’ And they will now have to move forward with the preliminary hearing on May 17th or the DA may have to dismiss the case,” Clark said.

“This is a gamble worth taking for Reuben Foster because he’s up against a time situation with the 49ers. There’s a lot of pressure to get this case resolved, and I think they are ready for their preliminary hearing.”

Clark said he expects Ennis, Foster’s former girlfriend, to be in court on May 17.

“My sense of it is, the accuser will be here in court, that there is a possibility she will testify,” he said. “That will be a very dynamic proceeding because if she says she lied initially, under oath, that is something that will be prosecutable. She’s putting herself in harm’s way.

“The question would be, is it more important to get the story right that she told or is she going to say she’s not going to take the stand because I have a Fifth Amendment privilege? But I think the accuser will be here. Whether she testifies or not I think has yet to be determined.”

Clark said he does not believe the DA’s office would pursue criminal charges against Ennis, especially if there is “some element of accuracy” in her initial report to the police, he said.

The firearm charge could still proceed, regardless of the outcome of the domestic violence charges. But Clark said he views the possession of an assault weapon as “more of a technical violation” that would like be reduced to a misdemeanor.

"The burden is on the people (DA's office)  to show that Mr. Foster did this beyond a reasonable doubt," Clark said. "So the murkiness that’s been created here is very problematic for the DA, and they need to evaluate, ‘Is this the kind of case we can more forward on, not just at a preliminary hearing, but at trial or should we simply go after the firearm charge?'"


49ers' Deebo Samuel praised by 'Friday' character he shares name with


49ers' Deebo Samuel praised by 'Friday' character he shares name with

It must be an honor to have someone name their child after you.

Deebo Samuel's dad nicknamed his son after a character from "Friday," and the actor who portrays "Deebo" likes what he's seeing from the young 49ers wide receiver.

"I'm a big fan of what they're doing up there man," Tom Lister said in an interview with TMZ Sports. "And Deebo, yeah I heard ESPN is trying to set something up with me and Deebo."

Lister said he's very open to collaborating with Samuel. Perhaps a movie with "Little Deebo and Big Deebo."

This movie could be the latest "Friday" installment that will be starting soon. Lister said he's hearing around December.

Oh, and a message to the 49ers, Lister wants to come to a game and hang out on the sidelines. 

Somewhere, Samuel is probably pretty excited about the shoutout from Lister.

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49ers have NFL's second-best defense, NBC analyst Josh Norris believes

49ers have NFL's second-best defense, NBC analyst Josh Norris believes

The 49ers defense has made a name for itself through the first five games of the season, and people around the country are taking notice.

"I only care about two to three to four defenses in the NFL," NBC Sports fantasy analyst Josh Norris said. "Those are the ones that really matter when you're playing offensive players on your roster and I think this 49ers' defense is the second-best in the NFL, just behind the New England Patriots."

The Week 7 fantasy football rankings on ESPN have San Francisco's defense ranked in the third spot in their matchup against Washington on Sunday. 

"It makes sense, right, and this is kind of predictable heading into the season because of how many first-round picks the 49ers have spent along that front, with how talented they are at linebacker, and then the veteran presence they have in the back half," Norris said. "This week, the player I would play against them most likely would be Terry McLaurin. But the 49ers have allowed opposing teams to convert just one of 21 third downs in the past two weeks."

McLaurin is second only to former 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss for the most fantasy points in the first five games of his career. He would be the only guy the 49ers' defense has to worry about. 

On the offensive side of the ball, the 49ers remain just as successful -- even without a true No. 1 receiver.

"It's huge," Norris explained. "I really think it makes Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida both startable in fantasy football. Tevin Coleman is like a Running Back 2, Matt Breida is your Running Back 3 in the flex spot."

[RELATED: Kittle highlights 49ers to watch in Week 7]

Norris details more about the offense in the video above.

Oh ... and he says it's not too early to consider the 49ers as Super Bowl contenders.