2nd UPDATE 1:40 PM: After a day spent with lawyers fighting over what can and cannot be made public in Jonathan Majors’ domestic violence trial, the Loki star got his first look Wednesday afternoon at potential New York jurors who will decide his guilt or innocence.
However, Majors, his defense team and prosecutors won’t know until at least Thursday which of the 40 candidates will make up the panel. Once chosen, the jury of six and at least one alternate will weigh the evidence in the actor’s misdemeanor criminal trial for assault and harassment in New York City against a then girlfriend in late March. Long insisting on his innocence, Majors faces up to a year behind bars if convicted.
At the end of the first day of the much-delayed trial in New York Wednesday, Majors exited the court via a side door. He made no comments to media or others on his way out.
After a closed hearing today that lasted nearly an hour to discuss potentially “prejudicial and inflammatory” evidence that remains under seal, Judge Michael Gaffey allowed spectators back into his Manhattan courtroom towards the end of the day. The judge told the assembled that he will rule on Thursday morning on the defense team’s motion to keep the evidence out of the trial record entirely.
Judge Gaffey then welcomed in the 40 jury pool members, swore them in, told them the high-profile defendant’s name, and instructed them to not discuss the case, research the case online, or watch any media coverage. “You can’t Google, FaceTime, Twitter — which I guess is now called X,” he quipped. “You can’t do any Internet searches, social media searches, absolutely anything you can think of that I haven’t mentioned … you cannot do.”
The judge then sent the prospective jurors home to return at 10 a.m. on Thursday to be screened for the jury pool. Everyone in the courtroom rose, and Majors stood with hands clasped watching the jurors exit.
With that, Judge Gaffney clarified a ruling that during voir dire — the questioning of potential jurors by lawyers for both sides — neither the prosecution nor the defense can refer to Majors’ accuser, Grace Jabbari, or to Majors himself, as a “victim.”
“Nobody’s the victim on voir dire,” the judge proclaimed.
Jabbari is expected to testify at the trial. It is unclear if Majors will.
UPDATE, 10:44 AM: The judge in the Jonathan Majors domestic violence trial in New York plans to clear the public courtroom of spectators this afternoon.
With the Loki actor himself in attendance, Judge Michael Gaffey will allow Majors’ lawyers to argue behind closed doors for keeping a piece of evidence that is currently under seal out of the case permanently.
From the bench today in Manhattan on what is the first day of Majors’ trial on misdemeanor assault and harassment charges stemming from an NYPD investigated incident in March against a then girlfriend, Judge Gaffey said that the information in question is “likely to be prejudicial and inflammatory.” Before prosecutors, defense lawyers and Majors himself, the Empire State judge added that public disclosure of the information in question at this point would harm the actor’s ability to field an impartial jury and receive a fair trial.
Majors faces up to a year behind bars if convicted of the four felony charges against him – all of which the actor had pleaded not guilty to.
Judge Gaffey, who tossed reporters out of a pre-trial hearing in September in the case, concluded that barring the public from yet another motion hearing is “the only way” to safeguard Majors’ rights. He agreed with a Majors lawyer, Seth Zuckerman, who earlier told the judge, “We believe that the disclosure on this one limited issue would taint the jury pool beyond repair.”
Earlier today, Majors walked in to court with girlfriend and Harlem star Meagan Good at his side. He had sunglasses on and wore a long black winter coat over a double-breasted gray suit. The Magazine Dreams actor tucked the glasses into a mug that had he has carried with him at past hearings. Major also held a Bible with gold leaf pages and a small notebook — both of which he’s also brought to court before. Before the proceedings, he sat with Good in the gallery, and then winked at her as he took his seat in the well next to the defense lawyers.
As in past court appearances since his spring arrest, Majors spoke little today. The actor answered a handful of questions from Judge Gaffey with a simple, Yes, your honor,” and when asked if he had any questions of his own, said, “No, sir.”
In a case marked by delays — and a rare instance of a misdemeanor charge actually going to trial — jury selection is still pending and might happen later in the afternoon, but only after Gaffey hears from prosecutors and the defense about the disputed evidence.
Sources have told Deadline that the sealed documents at issue contain information on potential past incidents involving the actor. But the specifics were scarce on Wednesday.
“We are flying blind,” Katherine Bolger, a lawyer for media organizations who want the records unsealed, told Judge Gaffey. Bolger argued that the information — whatever it is — should be made public. “There is already pre-trial publicity,” Bolger said, noting that several news outlets have published past claims of misbehavior by Majors.
But the judge said that the press would likely report this evidence, once it had it, regardless of whether jurors are ever allowed to see it, and that the resulting publicity would “threaten” the jury selection process.
The judge spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon hearing other motions. He ruled that prosecutors may not refer to Majors’ accuser, Grace Jabbari, as a “victim” when they are interviewing potential jurors. Judge Gaffey also deferred a ruling on whether jurors will get to hear about Jabbari’s arrest in October, based on a cross-complaint filed by Majors that she attacked him.
Last month, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office made it very clear they would decline to charge Jabbari. On Wednesday, in court, prosecutor Kelli Galaway said that “this was not a quid pro quo” in exchange for Jabbari’s expected testimony against Majors. Galaway noted that Jabbari had already been cooperating with prosecutors and was not notified of the DA’s decision to forgo charges against her until after she turned herself in to the NYPD in October.
A lawyer for Majors, Priya Chaudhry, argued that Jabbari’s arrest, which followed the cross complaint this summer from Majors and a police investigation into the British national’s alleged actions on the night of March 25, is fair game for a jury even if the DA’s office seemed disinclined to pursue Majors’ accuser. “Despite the DA’s …witness list, this case is really about the credibility of one person,” Chaudhry said, meaning Jabbari.
At one point during the back-and-forth over Jabbari’s arrest, Judge Gaffney stated, “Can we all agree that this whole situation is very unusual?”
PREVIOUSLY, 6 AM: After repeated delays and clashes between lawyers over conduct of the case, Jonathan Majors goes on trial this morning in New York City on misdemeanor charges of assault and harassment.
If found guilty, the Creed III and Loki star faces up to a year in prison — and untold consequences for what remains of his career.
Majors likely will be in the Manhattan courtroom as jury selection begins today. A New York judge is expected to hear a motion from a handful of news organizations to unseal documents in the case that sources tell Deadline contain information on potential past incidents involving the actor.
Prosecutors will argue that Majors grew violent with his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, during a car-service ride from their apartment in Chelsea that came to an abrupt stop in Chinatown on the night of March 25.
NYPD officers who responded after Majors himself called 911 found Jabbari with bruising, swelling, lacerations and a broken finger and arrested the actor, authorities said. He was released after a hearing and ordered to avoid contact with Jabbari. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Majors later filed a cross-complaint with police saying that an out-of-control Jabbari initiated the violence and bloodied him as he tried to restrain her. He said she believed another woman was texting him while they were in the car.
Citing text messages between the couple and security-camera footage related to the incident, Majors’ lawyer, Priya Chaudhry, has described him as the victim of escalating domestic violence by a controlling and abusive partner. Chaudhry has called her client the target of a “witch hunt” fueled by ingrained racial bias among police against Black defendants facing white accusers and a Manhattan District Attorney’s Office determined to press ahead even as the accuser’s story unravels.
Prosecutors declined to charge Jabbari after she turned herself in to police in October to answer Majors’ complaint. Despite trial delays that stretched through summer and into fall, the DA’s office has said they “look forward to presenting the full facts and evidence at trial.”
Jabbari, who worked with Majors as a movement coach during filming, is expected to travel from her home in London to testify for the prosecution about what happened between them that night eight months ago.
What’s undisputed is the professional toll the arrest took on Majors. While he does appear in the second season of Disney+’s Loki, he was dropped by management company Entertainment 360 and publicist The Lede Company in April. Previously announced roles for the Emmy-nominated star of Max’s Lovecraft Country dried up and ad campaigns for the U.S. Army and the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers were pulled.
In October, Disney removed Magazine Dreams, with Majors in a starring performance that already was generating Oscar buzz, from its release schedule.
RELATED: ‘Magazine Dreams’ Jonathan Majors On Transforming To Play A Troubled Bodybuilder, Joining Marvel Universe & Getting Punched Really Hard By Michael B. Jordan In ‘Creed III’ – Sundance
Majors’ legal team sought to have the case dismissed and claimed in court filings that prosecutors weren’t turning over required case evidence. The DA responded in October, disputing claims of prosecutorial misconduct and adding information — but no details — about an incident in London in September 2022, where Majors was filming Loki, which led to a police report.
It is unclear whether the DA will be able to introduce that or other past allegations under a New York legal standard that, in rare instances, allows evidence from prior, unprosecuted cases into a new criminal trial.
A DA spokesperson had no comment, and a request for comment by Majors’ lawyers went unanswered.
Carol Dennis is an entertainment aficionado with an eye for all things pop culture. She dives into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, from movie premieres to music festivals. Carol’s passion for storytelling extends beyond her reporting, as she’s an aspiring screenwriter in her free time.