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Jonathan Majors assault trial starts with competing versions of backseat confrontation

EntertainmentJonathan Majors assault trial starts with competing versions of backseat confrontation

The opening statements Monday in the trial against Majors centered on whether the actor Jonathan Majors assaulted his former girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, after she read a romantic text message sent to his phone by another woman.
NEW YORK (AP) — Jonathan Majors assault listened silently, head-cocked and eyes down, as a Manhattan prosecutor and his defense attorney offered competing accounts of a violent confrontation in the backseat of a car that led to assault charges against the film star and put his rapid Hollywood ascent on pause.

That the competing versions of the struggle were presented to a jury was itself unusual, a rare instance of a misdemeanor assault case going to trial. For Majors, a 34-year-old rising star, the stakes may be higher than the one year in prison he could face if convicted.
Prosecutors say Majors grabbed the woman’s hand so hard he fractured her middle finger, then twisted her arm behind her back and struck her on the side of the head – the latest outburst in an alleged pattern of physical and emotional abuse. An attorney for Jonathan Majors assault argued that her client was the true victim, claiming he was left bloodied by the attack, while she spent the rest of the night clubbing.

In her opening statements, the actor’s attorney, Priya Chaudhry, described the allegations as a revenge plot to “ruin Jonathan Majors and take away everything he has spent his whole life working for.”

Pointing to Majors’ breakout roles in “Creed III” and his emergence as a key supervillain in the Marvel multiverse, Chaudhry said her client’s career “seemed unstoppable until he ended his relationship with Ms. Jabbari and she, hours later, made these false allegations.”

Since his arrest in March, an ad campaign for the U.S. Army featuring Majors has been pulled and the release of “Magazine Dreams,” a Sundance award-winning filming that he starred in, has been postponed.

Chaudhry also invoked Majors’ race – he is Black, Jabbari is white – as a potential reason that he was arrested the day after the confrontation.
In his own opening statements, assistant district attorney Michael Perez described the alleged assault as the culmination of a “cruel and manipulative pattern of psychological and physical abuse” that Majors directed at his partner of two years.

The trial, he said, would show that Majors “demanded total compliance” from his girlfriend, at one point telling her that she needed to model herself after Michelle Obama or Coretta Scott King. If she didn’t meet that standard – by staying out late with friends or going to a music festival, for example – Majors would often become angry, throwing household objects or shouting at her, the prosecutor said.

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