Judge allows mention of accuser's arrest in Jonathan Majors' trial on domestic violence charges

ByAaron Katersky and Meredith Deliso ABCNews logo
Friday, December 1, 2023
Jonathan Majors trial is set in motion
Aaron Katersky has the latest details on the Jonathan Majors trial.

MANHATTAN, New York -- Defense attorneys for Marvel star Jonathan Majors will be allowed to tell the jury about his accuser's recent arrest in connection with the domestic violence case, the judge decided Thursday on the second day of the trial.

Majors, 34, faces misdemeanor assault and harassment charges stemming from an incident in New York City in March with his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, whose case the Manhattan district attorney's office dropped.

The Emmy-nominated actor was arrested after officers responded to a 911 call in Manhattan for an alleged domestic dispute. He subsequently filed a cross-complaint against Jabbari, alleging he was the one assaulted.

Jabbari was arrested in October in New York on multiple charges, though the Manhattan district attorney's office subsequently said it decided not to prosecute her because the case "lacks prosecutorial merit."

The defense argued her arrest is "part and parcel" of its case.

"There is no case law the People have cited that prevents the defense from asking Ms. Jabbari about her actions that night," defense attorney Seth Zuckerman said.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to preclude the defense from discussing Jabbari's arrest.

"This was not a quid pro quo," assistant district attorney Kelli Galaway said. "This was not a benefit she received."

Judge Michael Gaffey ultimately decided on Thursday to allow the defense to bring up her arrest during the trial.

Majors is accused of twisting Jabbari's arm behind her back, striking her in the head and pushing her into a vehicle, a criminal complaint alleges. She was treated at a hospital for minor neck and head injuries, including a cut to her ear, police said.

He has denied the assault. His attorney, Priya Chaudhry, said Majors is heard on police body camera footage telling officers "She slapped me" and "She ripped my coat" before they arrested him. The defense has claimed that authorities failed to properly evaluate his account before moving forward with misdemeanor charges.

Ross Kramer, an attorney for Jabbari, called her arrest "unfortunate and re-traumatizing" in a statement to The Associated Press in October.

The Manhattan district attorney's office "carefully reviewed all the facts of the case and concluded that Ms. Jabbari was the victim, and not the perpetrator," the statement to the AP said.

Majors has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, he could serve up to a year in prison.

Jury selection also began on Thursday to pick the six jurors and two alternates who will decide the case. Majors, dressed in a dark gray double-breasted suit, entered the courtroom holding the hand of his girlfriend, actress Meagan Good, and carrying a Bible.

He stood, clasped his hands and bowed his head toward the prospective jurors as the judge introduced him.

At least one potential juror signaled she recognized Majors -- known for his roles in the "Ant-Man" films, as well as starring in the Disney+ TV show, "Loki."

A number of other potential jurors said they had heard about the allegations and had already made up their mind.

Several women said they had seen a video of Jabbari dancing two hours after the assault claim against Majors. A few of them told the judge they could not put the images out of their minds and render a verdict based solely on the evidence.

"We need to know that you can be fair and impartial jurors," Gaffey said.

One woman said she knew nothing about the case but told the judge she had been the victim of domestic violence and did not think she could be fair.

Majors appeared to listen intently and look each prospective juror in the eye as they spoke about what they had seen, heard or read.

The judge read out the multiple counts of assault and aggravated harassment Majors faces.

"These are just allegations against Mr. Majors. He has denied these charges," Gaffey said.

A jury of six was seated by Thursday evening. Gaffey scheduled opening arguments for Monday. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

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