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Jonathan Majors Is on Trial For Assault and Harassment. Here's What to Know

The criminal trial of actor Jonathan Majors’ trial over an alleged assault of his former girlfriend, the dancer Grace Jabbari, began with opening arguments on Dec. 4 in New York City. Majors was arrested in March and charged with attempted assault, misdemeanor assault, harassment, aggravated harassment, and strangulation—though the last charge was dropped. The actor has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted, he could face up to a year in prison.

Three months after his arrest in March, Majors filed a police report against Jabbari regarding the same alleged altercation. In October, Jabbari was briefly arrested, though the Manhattan DA's office said that the case did not have “prosecutorial merit,” and dropped all charges against her the next day.

In a 115-page document filed in court in late October, the DA's office stated that they did not believe that Jabbari had committed a crime. The same document also said that Majors’ lawyers asked the police to make a “Wanted” poster of Jabbari, and that they had misrepresented evidence and leaked it to the press.

In November, Judge Michael Gaffey described Jabbari’s brief arrest as “very unusual.” “Did this only come about because of the high profile nature of the case?” Gaffey asked the court. “If this was an indigent, everyday New Yorker, would this arrest have happened?”

Misdemeanor cases typically don’t make it to trial because defendants often plead guilty to avoid what could be a harsher sentence. But Majors is trying to protect his reputation. The actor, who was poised for Marvel stardom before the arrest, was dropped by his former management company and publicists in April, before his first court appearance. Disney has pulled Magazine Dreams, a star vehicle for Majors, from its release calendar.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to bar Majors’ defense from mentioning Jabbari’s arrest, but Judge Gaffey ultimately allowed it. On the first day of the trial, Majors’ defense framed the dismissal of the report as proof that Majors’ point of view had been overlooked. The prosecution presented the report’s filing as part of a pattern of Majors’ need for control over Jabbari.

Their relationship, which lasted almost two years, began on the set of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, in which Majors starred and Jabarri was a movement coach.

Grace Jabbari testifies in domestic assault trial

Jabbari took the stand on Tuesday and enumerated a series of episodes that began a month after Ant-Man’s filming ended, in which Majors screamed, yelled at her, and threw household items.

“It was confusing because I felt scared of him, but quite dependent on him,” Jabbari told the jurors. She said she feared Majors “physically quite a lot.”

“I felt on edge,” she said. “Just worried that I could do something that could put him into this angry state.”

In a recording from Sept. 2022 that was played in court, six months before the alleged assault, Majors told Jabbari that she should treat him the way Michelle Obama and Coretta Scott King treated Barack Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr., respectively.

“I’m a great man. A great man. I am doing great things for my culture and for the world,” Majors said in the recording. “The woman that supports me, the one I support, needs to be a great woman and make sacrifices.”

A video shown in court of the March 25 incident shows Majors jumping out of a hired car, with Jabbari following him. He turns around, picks her up, and pushes her back inside the car. A prosecutor in the case said the driver would testify that he threw her back inside the car “like a football.” In the video, Majors turns and runs, and Jabbari gets back out to follow him. The prosecution added that in the altercation, Jabbari’s middle finger on her right hand was fractured, and her right ear and arm sustained swelling and pain.

The night after the incident, when Jabbari tried to sleep, “I couldn’t lie on the right side of my body,” she told jurors on Wednesday. “Everywhere hurt. I’m used to muscle aches; pain inflicted in other ways [as a dancer]. This felt so uncomfortable.”

Also on Wednesday, she said that she had not wanted to call the police, and that it was Majors who did so the next morning. After he was arrested, “I felt like it was my fault,” she said. “I should have lied and said nothing happened so he wouldn’t be in trouble or upset with me. I wanted to fix it.”

What Jonathan Majors’ defense has said

Majors’ attorney Priya Chaudhry has argued that it was actually Jabbari who attacked the actor, alleging that she accused him of assault as a form of revenge for ending their relationship. The New York Times reports that Chaudhry said Majors was “slapped, clawed, and scratched by Grace Jabbari in a way that made the driver, the only witness to this event, describe Jabbari as ‘psycho girl.’”

“She made these false allegations to ruin Jonathan Majors and to take away everything he has spent his whole life working for,” Chaudhry said.

Majors' defense has drawn focus to video footage of Jabbari going out with strangers after the altercation in the car and using her injured hand while at the nightclub. On Thursday, Chaudhry questioned how Jabbari could have used her hand if it was injured as she claimed, the Associated Press reports. "You picked up the lime with your right hand and you put the lime in your mouth?" she asked. "You sucked on the lime and then you put the rest of the lime rind back on the bar with your right hand, correct?"

Jabbari said that right after the incident, she met three strangers on the sidewalk who offered to help her. To avoid being alone, Jabbari said she went with them to the nightclub, where she ordered a bottle of champagne and a round of shots. She said she was in shock and did not realize the severity of her injuries until the next morning.

"I wasn't focusing on pain," she said. "I was trying to have a nice time. There were these lovely people there and I felt safe with them."

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