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Jonathan Majors' trial on domestic violence charges is underway. Here's what to know.

Jonathan Majors' trial to begin Wednesday
Jonathan Majors' trial on domestic violence charges to begin Wednesday 02:53

Actor Jonathan Majors' trial on domestic violence charges began Wednesday in New York City, eight months after the alleged incident took place. 

He is accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, in March — but Majors claims that Jabbari attacked him. 

The alleged assault made national headlines and the misdemeanor case spiraled into a feud fought in the press as prosecutors and the defense traded accusations about what happened and argued publicly about the charges. Jabbari was arrested, then released, and Majors' star — which had quickly ascended in Hollywood in recent years — began to fall. 

Actor Jonathan Majors appears in a New York City courtroom on the first day of his trial for domestic violence charges. Jane Rosenberg

After his arrest, the U.S. Army pulled TV commercials starring Majors, 33, saying it was "deeply concerned" by the abuse allegations. Majors' upcoming Marvel film, "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty," was postponed by Disney, while the theatrical release of his recent Sundance Film Festival entry "Magazine Dreams" remained up in the air. He was also reportedly dropped from his talent management agency, Entertainment 360.

Majors faces misdemeanor assault and harassment charges, which include three counts of reckless assault and three counts of unintentional assault. If Majors is convicted, the charges could land him in jail for up to a year. 

Here's what to know about the domestic abuse case. 

What happened during the alleged domestic violence incident?

Majors was accused of striking Jabbari, 30, during a car ride home in March and then shoving her back into the car after they had gotten out. Jabbari has claimed she tried to grab Majors' phone after she saw a text message on it that said, "Wish I was kissing you right now."

According to prosecutors, Majors then grabbed Jabbari, pulled her finger, twisted her right arm behind her back and struck her right ear, causing her to bleed. After they got out of the vehicle, he pushed her back inside, causing her to fall backward, prosecutors allege. Jabbari was treated at a hospital for minor injuries to her head and neck, police said. 

She was granted a temporary order of protection. 

Trial Begins For Actor Jonathan Majors' Domestic Violence Charges
 Jonathan Majors, and his girlfriend, Meagan Good, flanked by his lawyer Priya Chaudhry (R), arrive to Manhattan Criminal court for his pre trial hearing on August 03, 2023 in New York City.  Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images

Majors and his attorney have claimed that Jabbari was the one who attacked him, and said she was having an "emotional crisis." His lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, said she has video evidence showing, "irrefutable evidence that the woman is lying, including video proof showing nothing happened, especially not where she claimed."

She has accused prosecutors of pursuing a "witch hunt" against the Majors.

Why were both arrested but only Jabbari released?

Majors was arrested on March 25 on suspicion of strangulation, assault and harassment, police said. New York City police arrived at an apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood around 11:14 a.m. after a 911 call about a domestic dispute.

After a preliminary investigation, police officers said they determined there had been a domestic dispute involving Jabbari and Majors and they arrested Majors at the scene. He claimed at the time Jabbari had attacked him.

Majors was released on his own recognizance the same day he was arrested and arraigned the next day.

Six months later, in October, police arrested Jabbari and she was charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief. Majors' attorney had provided video evidence to the police that she claimed showed Jabbari was responsible for the assault. Police opened an investigation into Jabbari based on a cross-complaint filed by Majors.

Hours later, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office dropped the charges saying, the office "has officially declined to prosecute the case against Grace Jabbari because it lacks prosecutorial merit."

In their memo, prosecutors pointed to "concerning" discrepancies in the evidence handed over by Majors' attorney, including a witness who said the statement provided by him was false. The witness was quoted as saying he watched Majors "gently" place Jabbari in the car after she slapped him. He said he never wrote that statement, according to the district attorney's office.

"The matter is now closed and sealed," said Doug Cohen, a press secretary for the prosecutor's office.

CBS News legal analyst Rikki Kleiman said the dismissal was a "big blow" for the defense because they "firmly believed that if both sides were accusing each other with evidence on both sides, that this case was going to go away."

What can we expect during the trial?

The trial began Wednesday, Nov. 29. Judge Michael Gaffey is presiding over the case. 

Prosecutors Kelli Galloway and Michael Perez said the Manhattan District Attorney's Office plans to present 14 witnesses. Prosecutors said they would need six days to present their case.

Jonathan Majors appears in court on the first day of trial on domestic violence charges.  Jane Rosenberg

The first day of the trial featured several motions prior to jury selection. A good portion of the day was spent dealing with an evidentiary issue, for which Majors' attorneys requested the courtroom be closed and the potential evidence sealed. Attorney Seth Zuckerman argued the potential evidence could taint the jury pool and deprive Majors of a fair trial. 

Katherine Bolger, a lawyer hired by several publications, argued against the sealing of evidence. She argued the defense has already made statements "like crazy" in the press and that evidence has already been made public pretrial.    

Gaffey agreed to Zuckerman's request and ordered the courtroom closed for a portion of the day to discuss the evidence. He said he would rule on what was discussed during the closed portion of the day on Thursday, but it was not clear if that ruling would be made public. Any potential evidence deemed admissible will become public once introduced at trial.

Gaffey also agreed that Jabbari is not to be referred to as "the victim" throughout the trial. The prosecution can, however, say she was "the victim of X action" as needed.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m. ET.

Majors attended the first day of the trial. He entered the courtroom flanked by his girlfriend, actress Meagan Good, and his attorneys, Chaudhry and Zuckerman. Gaffey informed Majors the trial would proceed whether he attended subsequent days or not and that he was not obligated to testify.

Nathalie Nieves, C Mandler, Faris Tanyos and Aliza Chazan contributed reporting

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