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Jury deliberating whether actor Jonathan Majors assaulted a girlfriend in New York last spring

Jonathan Majors Assault
Posted at 7:25 AM, Dec 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 09:25:36-05

NEW YORK (AP) — A jury began deliberating Thursday whether Jonathan Majors is guilty of assault following a New York trial featuring clashing narratives about whether the rising Hollywood star was the aggressor or victim during a chaotic struggle with his then-girlfriend that began in the back seat of a car.

The criminal case has centered on allegations brought by Grace Jabbari, a 30-year-old British dancer, who said the “Creed III” actor struck her on the side of the head, twisted her arm behind her back and squeezed her finger until it broke during a dispute last spring.

In closing arguments that ended before lunch Thursday, Major's lawyer portrayed Jabbari as a compulsive liar who concocted a story of an abusive relationship as revenge after catching her boyfriend of two years texting another woman.

The 34-year-old actor dabbed his eyes with a tissue as his attorney, Priya Chaudhry, implored the jury to “end this nightmare for Jonathan Majors.”

Prosecutors, meanwhile, said the actor “struck a blow” to his partner's head that left her stunned in the back seat of a car. They said the assault was the latest escalation in Majors' repeated attempts to “exert control” over his girlfriend through both physical and emotional violence, citing a past instance in which he allegedly urged her not to seek medical attention for a head injury because it could “lead to an investigation.”

Deliberations were set to resume Friday afternoon.

The verdict may have implications far outside the Manhattan courtroom. Prior to his arrest in March, Majors' “Kang the Conquerer” character was being set up as the next major supervillain in the Marvel universe. His prestige drama, “Magazine Dreams,” was postponed from its scheduled release earlier this month.

The struggle in the back of the car was not captured on video. But in their closing arguments, each side furnished security footage depicting scenes leading up to and after the dispute that they said underscored their point.

In one video played repeatedly to jurors by the prosecution, Majors can be seen “manhandling” Jabbari outside the vehicle, lifting her off the ground and placing her in the back seat “as if she was a doll,” according to Manhattan assistant district attorney Kelli Galaway.

Minutes later, footage showed Majors sprinting through the darkened streets of Lower Manhattan in an effort to evade Jabbari, who said she wanted details about the “romantic” text message she had seen on his phone. The video, according to the defense, served as proof that “Jonathan was trying to escape Grace and Grace kept attacking him.”

After Majors had fled the scene, Jabbari followed a group of strangers she had met on the street to a dance club, where she could be seen on grainy security footage ordering shots and using her injured hand to hold a champagne glass and sign a check.

That footage, the defense argued, proved she was unharmed following the incident. But prosecutors countered that Jabbari had not discovered the extent of the injuries until the following morning — at which point she sent photographs of her bruised hands and a cut to a friend.

“This is not a revenge plot to ruin the defendant’s life or career,” Galaway said. ”What matters is what happened in the car that night."

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