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What to know ahead of actor Jonathan Majors' domestic violence trial

Here's everything we know about the assault and harassment case against the Marvel actor as we await the trial date.
What to know ahead of actor Jonathan Majors' domestic violence trial
Posted at 11:34 AM, Sep 06, 2023

Jonathan Majors' criminal trial in New York City has been delayed again. 

The Marvel actor was set to start his domestic violence trial on Wednesday. However, following a brief virtual hearing with Judge Rachel S. Pauley in Manhattan Criminal Court, it was decided that a new trial date would be scheduled during a hearing Sept. 15. The trial had already been delayed last month upon prosecutors' request.

The case centers on charges related to his alleged assault of a woman, which Majors has vehemently denied since his arrest in March.

Ahead of the trial, here's everything we know about the actor and the charges against him.

Why was Majors arrested?

Majors was arrested on March 25 after New York City police responded to a 911 call about an alleged domestic dispute with his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. 

Unnamed at the time, Jabbari told police that Majors had struck her in the face with an open hand, causing a laceration behind her ear, and that he bruised her neck by placing his hands around it, among other assault claims. She was treated in a hospital for minor head and neck injuries following the dispute.

Majors was charged with misdemeanor assault, aggravated harassment, attempted assault, harassment and strangulation. The strangulation charge was dropped, and Majors has pleaded not guilty to the four other charges, which carry up to a year in jail if he's convicted.

The 33-year-old actor was released from police custody later that night, and his defense lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, has since maintained her client's innocence.

Shortly after Majors was arrested, Chaudhry claimed it was Majors who had called the police the day of the alleged assault out of concern for Jabbari's "mental health" and claimed the actor was the real victim in the case.

Chaudhry also released a set of alleged text messages between her client and Jabbari, whose name was redacted at the time, that seemed to show Jabbari didn't want her then-boyfriend to be in legal trouble.

"They said they had to arrest you as protocol when they saw the injuries on me and they knew we had a fight," the texts said. "I'm so angry that they did. And I'm sorry you're in this position. Will make sure nothing happens about this. I told them it was my fault for trying to grab your phone."

How has the case changed since Majors' arrest?

SEE MORE: Jonathan Majors arrested on assault charge in New York

Jabbari was granted a temporary order of protection in April to bar any communication between her and Majors, which still remains in place.

Soon after, Variety reported multiple other alleged abuse victims of Majors had come forward with their stories and were cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney's office. 

Then in May, prosecutors updated Jabbari's account of the alleged dispute to include claims he pulled her finger, grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her back and pushed her into a car with both hands, causing her to fall backward.

Chaudhry again refuted the updated allegations, Deadline reported.

"We have provided the district attorney with irrefutable evidence that the woman is lying, including video proof showing nothing happened, especially not where she claimed," she said. "We did this with the explicit promise from the DA that they would not 'fix' their case and change it as we proved the woman is lying."

In June, Majors filed his own domestic violence complaint against Jabbari, claiming she slapped and grabbed his face causing pain and bleeding, Insider reported. And later that month, the New York Times reported the New York Police Department had issued an I-card for Jabbari, which alerts officers that there is probable cause to arrest Jabbari. 

The woman's lawyer said her party wouldn't "respond to rumors" as the criminal case proceeded.

Majors appeared at a hearing for the case in June, at which the judge wished the actor luck while scheduling his trial for Aug. 3.

But when that day came, the trial was postponed to Sept. 6 after prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney's office said it needed more time for discovery.

Chaudhry said the delay was due to the prosecutors not being "timely" in turning over evidence. She also said although her client's "life, career and reputation" were torn apart, "he remains unwavering in his determination to be absolved from this harrowing ordeal."

A statement from the Manhattan DA spokesperson after the delay said, "We look forward to presenting the full facts and evidence at trial."

Then on Sept. 6, the trial was again postponed because the defense said it feels like both parties need to address "deficiencies" in the discovery process, according to Deadline.

Has the case affected Majors' work, public image?

Majors was on the rising star track before the arrest news spread across Hollywood.

His breakout role was in the HBO series "Lovecraft Country," which earned him a Primetime Emmy nomination. He then landed major movie roles in "Creed III" and a spot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as its next major supervillain, Kang the Conqueror. That gig already shot him into a series and film with the franchise, and it set him up for multiple "Avengers" movies to come, including one titled "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty."

But soon after he was charged in the assault and harassment case, the path to those opportunities became a lot less clear, especially after more reports arose.

In terms of work, reports surfaced just weeks after Majors' arrest saying he had been dropped by his talent management and public relations representatives.

Then the Army, which had recently launched an advertising campaign narrated by the actor, pulled its ads until the investigation was complete.

Marvel seemed to cut Majors' screen time in the upcoming season two of "Loki" per teaser trailers, and the franchise has pushed the release of the two "Avengers" films he was set to lead, though it's not exactly clear how much of his role if any will be changed due to the trial.

And as for his image, Rolling Stone published an article in June resulting from a three-month investigation in which more than 40 people spoke of their relationships with Majors through school, his Hollywood career and his love life. This story alleged Majors was an "extreme abuse" aggressor for nearly a decade.

"Their stories suggest a pattern of alleged physical, mental, and emotional abuse that dates back a decade to Majors' time at Yale's David Geffen School of Drama — where he was involved in physical altercations — and continued to the sets of his movies and TV shows, where production members raised concerns over his treatment of crew," the publication said.

Most seriously, the publication said more than a dozen close sources said Majors had allegedly abused two romantic partners, one physically and one emotionally.

One of Majors' attorneys denied all of Rolling Stone's abuse accusations and said they were based entirely on hearsay.

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