Jonathan Majors began to silently cry as his defense team in his domestic violence trial claimed the Marvel actor’s “fear of when a Black man in America calls 911 comes true. And now we are here.”
As his attorney, Priya Chaudhry, gave the defense’s closing arguments on Thursday morning, both the 34-year-old actor and his girlfriend — actress Meagan Good — began to cry. Chaudhry herself broke down as she closed her argument, choking up as she said, “You are here to end this nightmare for Jonathan Majors. You are here to see what is obvious…Jonathan Majors is innocent.”
But assistant district attorney Kelli Galaway told the jury in her closing statements that “nothing that you heard is evidence” from Chaudhry. Galaway said Majors’ then-girlfriend Grace Jabbari was not the bitter or revengeful ex-girlfriend Chaudhry painted her to be. Instead, Jabbari went to lengths to “protect” Majors, even when questioned by police and medics who arrived at their apartment.
Galaway described Jabbari as a victim of domestic violence, pointing to past incidents where Majors used “strategically planned” methods “to ensure Jabbari’s compliance” — including the night of the alleged attack. Galaway accused Majors’ defense team of using “DARVO. tactics” against Jabbari, an acronym for Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. “Domestic violence is serious,” she added. “Victims of domestic violence struggle to report and when they do there are critiques on how they do it.”
Majors pleaded not guilty to the four charges of assault and harassment after his arrest on March 25. He is accused of twisting Jabbari’s arm; squeezing and prying her fingers; delivering a blow to the back of her head; and shoving her back into a car after Jabbari saw him receive a romantic text from another woman and grabbed his phone. If convicted, Majors faces up to a year in jail.
The high-profile trial is now coming to a close after two weeks, with both prosecutors and the defense giving their closing statements. The jury now has to deliberate and return a verdict on the four charges.
Throughout the case, Chaudhry has claimed that Jabbari was the aggressor the night of the fight and made false accusations in an act of “revenge” after Majors “broke her heart.” In her closing argument, Chaudhry said prosecutors had bought into Jabbari’s “white lies,” disputing points of her testimony and her injuries from the night of the alleged attack. “You don’t get to destroy people’s lives with your fantasies,” Chaudhry said. “Grace is not on trial but maybe she should be.”
Both Majors and Good began to cry when Chaudhry said Majors had previously voiced his fear to Jabbari about how “dangerous it is for a Black man to call the police in America” and, Chaudhry said, he still called 911 when he allegedly found her unconscious in their apartment.
“Like the cops and before any real investigation, [prosecutors] immediately decided who they saw as a criminal,” Chaudhry said. “They chose to contort reality and accept Grace’s lies … They want you to [see] the world through their minds: Grace is a victim and Jonathan is a criminal. The People need you to believe Grace’s lies in order to convict this innocent man.”
Chaudhry also attempted to poke holes in Jabbari’s recollection of events and the severity of her injuries and when she obtained them. She played for the jury video surveillance of Jabbari after the fight, and using her injured finger. “I want to end this nightmare for Jonathan, right now, immediately,” Chaudhry said. “It’s just fake. Nothing she says makes sense. Nothing she says is medically possible. Everything she said is belied by the video.”
Yet Galaway said the surveillance video does the opposite. Footage showing Majors picking up Jabbari and pushing her back into the car, Galaway said, is proof of one of the charges brought against the actor. As to Jabbari chasing after Majors and dancing at a nightclub, Galaway said what only matters is what happened inside the car. Galaway referred to the testimony of a domestic violence expert, explaining that victims of domestic violence “often respond in ways that seem to be abnormal.”
“When the defendant had behaved in a way that you are hearing previously in public, he had told her not to speak about it to anyone. That it would ruin their relationship.” Galaway added. “Ms. Jabbari understood this. How did this impact her? She didn’t want to tell anyone what was going on.”
Throughout cross-examination, Chaudhry highlighted Jabbari often using her right hand following the fight in the car, questioning how she could be using it if she was injured as she testified. However, Galaway pointed to police body camera footage the next morning — where Jabbari’s finger is clearly injured — and she is shown using her hand similarly to the night before.
The trial included testimony from Jabbari, the driver of the car, the doctor who treated Jabbari’s injuries, Majors’ agent and a detective who took his counter police complaint against Jabbari in June. (Majors did not testify at the trial.)
On Wednesday, Judge Michael Gaffey permitted the release of materials that have been shown as evidence in the trial. It included surveillance footage of some of Majors’ and Jabbari’s alleged fight that spilled onto the streets; photos of Jabbari’s fractured finger and a cut on the back of her ear; a voice recording and text messages from September 2022 fights where Majors scolds Jabbari and threatens to kill himself; and photos of shattered glass following a July 2022 fight.
Jabbari took the stand for four days to testify about her relationship with Majors after meeting on the set of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in 2021. It was a whirlwind, Jabbari said, describing how Majors told her he loved her early on, wrote her poetry and they rarely spent a day apart. However, by December ,Jabbari said she first became scared of Majors. In July 2022, Jabbari claimed Majors “exploded” and flew into a “rage” while he was preparing for his upcoming bodybuilding role in the indie film Magazine Dreams. Majors allegedly began throwing glass objects around the bedroom near Jabbari.
During another fight in September 2022, while Majors was filming the second season of Loki in London, Jabbari claimed Majors became upset that she had gone to a pub with a female friend and had invited her back into the house they shared. After Majors allegedly stomped on Jabbari’s headphones and told her to leave their shared home — at one point allegedly throwing her belongings in the trash and into bags — the couple reunited.
However, Jabbari claims Majors became upset with her again. In a voice recording, Majors is heard telling Jabbari that despite his “temper,” he is a “great man” and needs a “great woman” who will make sacrifices for him. That same month, Majors pleaded with Jabbari not to go to the hospital for a head injury, according to a series of texts shown in court. “It’s just fake,” Majors wrote in the messages. “And you have, I fear, you have no perspective of what could happen if you go to the hospital. They will ask you questions and as I don’t think you actually protect us it could lead to an investigation even if you do lie and they suspect something.”
Jabbari’s response is partially redacted, but she responds, “I will tell the doctor I bumped my head, if I go, I’m going to give it one more day, but I can’t sleep and I need some stronger painkillers. That’s all. Why would I want to tell them what really happened when it’s clear I want to be with you.”
In cross-examination, Majors’ defense attorney Priya Chaudhry questioned Jabbari about her drinking habits and went point by point through the aftermath of the alleged attack, having Jabbari repeatedly demonstrate where she believed Majors had twisted her arm and where she had felt pain on her body.
Other testimony from prosecutors’ witnesses included the driver who was the only other person in the car during the alleged attack and spoke through an Urdu interpreter. Naveed Sarwar told prosecutors he was looking ahead when the fight broke out and didn’t directly see anything while Majors and Jabbari were allegedly fighting for Majors’ phone. But based on his recollection of what he could hear, Sarwar told the court that “many things were happening” and he “had the feeling the girl had hit the boy … because of the way that she was fighting, and the sounds produced.” “He was not doing anything,” he added. “She was doing everything.” Later, when Majors exited the car — video surveillance previously shown in court appeared to show Majors picking up Jabbari and shoving her back into the car — Sarwar claimed Majors was “trying to throw” and “trying to push” Jabbari back into the car. “He was trying to get rid of her.”
Dr. William Chiang, the doctor who treated Jabbari for her injuries at Bellevue Hospital the morning after the fight, testified that Jabbari’s fractured finger and the cut on the back of her ear were generally “consistent” with Jabbari’s recollection of events, according to the New York Daily News and the New York Post. He added that Jabbari’s injured finger was unlikely to have been caused by a “direct fall” or self-inflicted. During cross-examination, Chiang said Jabbari couldn’t explain how the injury happened, or the source of her injuries. In regard to Jabbari’s fractured finger, squeezing or twisting an arm wouldn’t “usually cause a break,” he said, and a typical blow across the head would result in bruising, which Jabbari didn’t have.
While the trial in New York comes to a close, there still is a looming investigation in London following New York prosecutors noting they had obtained a police report stemming from a September 2022 incident. Last month, London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed to Rolling Stone that there is an ongoing investigation that included allegations of “physical assaults.”
Before his March arrest, Majors was on track to have his biggest year yet, following the releases Creed III and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He was also receiving early Oscar buzz for his performance as a lonely bodybuilder with violent fantasies in Magazine Dreams. However, Majors was quickly dropped by both his management and publicist teams in the wake of the accusations, and Searchlight Pictures indefinitely postponed Magazine Dreams’ December theatrical release. All that seems to be left on Majors’ calling card is Marvel, who was planning on centering the next edition of the franchise on Majors’ character, the multiverse villain Kang the Conqueror, starting with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in 2026.