REDWOOD CITY -- An ex-boyfriend who accused Kwame Harris of beating him during an argument has refused to testify against the former Raiders and 49ers lineman, but that doesn't mean domestic violence charges will be dismissed, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Harris' trial will proceed with a description of the violence ex-boyfriend Dimitri Geier of Los Angeles provided during an earlier hearing, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Defense and prosecution gave their opening arguments Wednesday in the case stemming from a August 2012 beating in the parking lot of Menlo Park Chinese restaurant.

Though a judge would typically be able to jail a person who refuses to take the stand, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Joseph Scott's hands are tied in this case because state law prohibits locking up domestic violence victims who don't cooperate.

Normally this would mean the end of the prosecution's case, Wagstaffe said. However, Geier's earlier testimony at a preliminary hearing on the evidence can be read to the jury. It was unclear why he chose not to testify, but in February he also dropped the civil case he filed against Harris.

Harris' lawyer Alin Cintean, who was in court for the trial, couldn't be reached for comment.

The charges can be traced back to Aug. 21, 2012, when Harris, once a first-round NFL draft pick who played football at Stanford, allegedly beat Geier outside Sung Hong restaurant. The men had dated on and off for four years and that day they were together because Harris was to give Geier a ride to San Francisco International Airport.

But the men began to argue after Geier poured soy sauce on some rice, which upset Harris, according to the lawsuit Geier filed in San Mateo County in October 2012. The case was dismissed in February at the request of Geier's attorney.

According to the suit, the arguing continued and escalated, until finally Harris said he wouldn't drive Geier to the airport. As the men went outside in order to get Geier's bags from Harris' car the argument turned violent. Harris allegedly tried to pull down Geier's pants and accused him of stealing his underwear, according to the suit.

Harris' attorney said previously Geier threw the first punch and Harris was only defending himself. Geier suffered seriously facial injuries, which lead to a metal plate being installed in his face and other surgeries, his former attorney Craig Charles said previously. Charles said Wednesday he wasn't sure why Geier dropped the suit and refused to testify.

Harris is out of jail on $75,000 bail.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.