Jonathan Majors Assault Trial Begins: Actor’s Lawyers Claim Ex-Girlfriend Made ‘False Allegations’ Out of ‘Revenge’

Jonathan Majors
Robert Smith/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Opening statements began on Monday in the criminal trial against actor Jonathan Majors, who has been accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

He arrived at New York City Criminal Court around 9:30 a.m. wearing a long coat and beret. Majors entered the lower Manhattan courtroom at 10:05 a.m. with a Bible in hand. He greeted friends and family in attendance, including his new partner Meagan Good, with a kiss on the cheek.

Majors, who has appeared in blockbusters like Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Creed III,” was arrested on March 25 after an alleged domestic dispute in Manhattan with his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. The actor, who has pleaded not guilty, faces three remaining charges of misdemeanor assault, aggravated harassment and harassment; another charge of strangulation has been dropped. He faces up to a year in jail if he’s convicted.

Prosecutor Michael Perez began by offering details on the events that led to Majors’ arrest. On March 25, Majors and Jabbari took a private car service after midnight from a Brooklyn party to their Chelsea apartment. The prosecutor said the couple, who met in 2021 on the set of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” had been together for two years and had discussed marriage and kids.

“This was a serious relationship,” Perez told jurors.

On the night of the incident, Jabbari saw a text message on Majors’ phone from a woman named Cleopatra that read, “Wish I was kissing you right now.” Jabbari allegedly took the phone out of his hands to see who sent the message. Perez asserted that Majors then began grabbing the right side of Jabbari’s body and prying her finger off the phone to retrieve it. The prosecutor said this caused bruising, swelling and substantial pain.

“He intended to cause Grace Jabbari physical injury and, in fact, he did cause her physical injury,” Perez asserted.

Majors does not deny that a text message from another woman sparked the alleged altercation. But Majors’ criminal defense lawyer Priya Chaudhry alleges that it was Jabbari who assaulted Majors, ripping two buttons off his coat and tearing the pocket “with her bare hands” — and not the other way around.

After they parted ways that night, Jabbari ran into three strangers on the street, who invited her to go to a club. She went to “block out the experience,” Perez, the prosecutor, told jurors. Meanwhile, Majors had checked into a hotel room and ended their relationship through a text message.

Jabbari later returned to Majors’ apartment and called him multiple times – 32, according to Chaudhry – before taking two sleeping pills. He went back to the Chelsea residence the following morning, where he allegedly found Jabbari on the floor of the closet.

Chaudhry told jurors that Majors called the police “out of concern” for Jabbari’s mental state because she was unconscious and had, in text messages, threatened suicide. Jabbari was initially hesitant but eventually told officers that she had sustained injuries from Majors, who was subsequently arrested. She was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for wounds.

Months later, Jabbari was arrested on Oct. 26 and charged with assault and criminal mischief in connection to the March incident. But the Manhattan District Attorney’s office “declined to prosecute the case against Grace Jabbari because it lacks prosecutorial merit.” Judge Michael Gaffey ruled on Thursday the defense can bring up Jabbari’s arrest during the trial.

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, will include testimony from Jabbari and potentially the driver of the private vehicle where the alleged altercation took place, a medical professional and the three strangers that Jabbari met on the street.

Prior to the night in question, Perez alleges the “honeymoon period” of Majors and Jabbari’s partnership was waning and “things began to sour.” Months into the relationship, he continued, “the defendant’s true self began to show. “He began to snap at, manipulate and strategically withhold affection from [Jabbari].” Majors had threatened suicide to “control her actions” in the past, according to Perez.

“This affected their entire relationship and how she reacted on March 25,” the prosecutor said.

Chaudhry told jurors the relationship history of Majors and Jabbari had “nothing to do with what happened in the car.”

The defense argued that Majors’ Hollywood career had been on the rise before the arrest. He appeared in two 2023 blockbusters, as well as the indie “Magazine Dreams,” which was acquired by Searchlight Pictures at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The studio removed the project from its release schedule in the wake of the allegations. As part of the fallout, he’s been dropped by his PR team and management and cut from the film “The Man in My Basement.” Majors still has a major role, as the villainous Kang the Conqueror, in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Mr. Majors’ lifetime of hard work was coming to fruition and his career seemed unstoppable until […] he ended his relationship with Jabbari and she made these false allegations,” Chaudhry said. “[This is] a man who spent 30 years working hard to get to where he was on March 25. A man with the world at his fingertips.”

The defense concluded its opening statement by saying, “This is a case about the end of a relationship, not about a crime… at least not one that Mr. Majors committed. In revenge, she made these false allegations to ruin Mr. Majors and take away everything he spent his life working for.”

Majors’ lawyer urged the jury: “End this nightmare for him.”

From Variety US