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Opening statements in Jonathan Majors' domestic assault trial begin in Manhattan

Opening statements begin in Jonathan Majors' domestic assault trial in Manhattan
Opening statements begin in Jonathan Majors' domestic assault trial in Manhattan 00:34

NEW YORK -- Jonathan Majors was back in court Monday facing trial for allegedly assaulting a former girlfriend earlier this year.

With girlfriend and actress Meghan Good by his side and a Bible in his hands, a somber Majors walked into Manhattan Criminal Court to hear the case against him.

Majors was arrested back in March in Manhattan after an alleged domestic dispute with his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, who was also in court Monday.

Prosecutors say Majors hit Jabbari in the head while they were inside a cab. He was charged with misdemeanors, including assault and harassment, and pleaded not guilty. 

Before opening statements Monday, both sides agreed to consolidate the charges Majors is facing, so the jury can more easily understand and make a decision. He still faces both assault and harassment charges.

The judge also granted a request to show the jury police body camera video of Jabbari but without audio. The video was taken after the alleged altercation as she was speaking with officers. 

The charges have impacted the 34-year-old's acting career. He's probably most well known for his latest roles in "Ant-Man and the Wasp" and "Creed III."

If found guilty, he could face up to a year in jail. 

What happened during the alleged domestic assault?

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

Prosecutors say 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 allegedly pushed her back inside, causing her to fall backward. 

Jabbari, 30, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries to her head and neck, police said. She was granted a temporary order of protection. 

Majors and his attorney have claimed Jabbari was the one who attacked him, saying 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."

Choudhry said Majors was the only person who emerged bloody from the car after Jabbari scratched him. The defense also argued Jabbari spent the next few hours partying with strangers, showing no signs of physical injury. 

Why was Jabbari arrested and released?

Majors was arrested on March 25 on suspicion of strangulation, assault and harassment. Police responded to a 911 call for a domestic dispute around 11:14 a.m. at an apartment in Chelsea.

Officers said they determined Majors and Jabbari were involved in a domestic dispute, and they arrested Majors at the scene. He claimed Jabbari had attacked him. 

Majors was released on his own recognizance the same day, before he was arraigned the following day.

Six months later, police arrested Jabbari on charges of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief. 

Majors' attorney had provided video evidence 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."

Prosecutors pointed to "concerning" discrepancies in the evidence handed over by Majors' attorney, including a witness who said a statement provided by him was false. The witness was quoted saying he watched Majors "gently" place Jabbari into 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.

What can we expect during trial?

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

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

In addition to Good, Majors was flanked as he entered the courtroom Monday by attorneys Chaudhry and Seth Zuckerman. 

Gaffey informed Majors the trial would proceed whether he attended subsequent days or not and that he was not obligated to testify.  

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