Jonathan Majors Found Guilty of Assault, Harassment After Weeks of Jarring Testimony

Majors was accused of four charges against ex-partner, Grace Jabbari. After 3 days of deliberation, the jury found him guilty of two of them.

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Jonathan Majors Found Guilty of Assault, Harassment After Weeks of Jarring Testimony
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On Monday afternoon, a six-person jury in New York City found Jonathan Majors guilty of reckless assault in the third degree and guilty of second-degree harassment against his ex-partner, Grace Jabbari, stemming from an incident in March. The jury found Majors not guilty of one other charge of intentional assault in the third degree and not guilty of the charge of aggravated harassment in the second degree, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The two assault charges and aggravated harassment charge relate to what happened between Majors and Jabbari while they were inside a car on the evening of March 25, while the second-degree harassment charge relates to an altercation between the two outside the vehicle.

In a statement responding to the verdict, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg said the evidence in the case “illustrated a cycle of psychological and emotional abuse, and escalating patterns of coercion far too common across the many intimate partner violence cases we see each and every day.” He thanked the jury “for its service” and thanked Jabbari, “the survivor,” for “bravely telling her story despite having to relive her trauma on the stand.” Shortly after the verdict, Variety reported that Marvel Studios has finally parted ways with Majors, who was set to portray the franchise’s next big antagonist after Thanos. This report comes after months of silence from the studio on Majors’ future since he was arrested in March.

Because the case against Majors is criminal rather than civil, the burden of proof imposed on the jury required them to find proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for each of the four charges against Majors. In New York state, assault in the third degree is punishable as a class A misdemeanor, and carries up to a year in jail, three years of probation, and a $1,000 fine. Second-degree harassment is punishable with up to 15 days in jail. In court on Monday, officials said Majors faces up to 364 days in jail.

The jury began deliberating on Thursday afternoon and, according to THR, took four hours over the last three court sessions to reach their verdict.

The verdict comes after Majors previously pleaded not guilty to all four of the charges against him. Over two weeks of grueling trial, jurors were shown photos of injuries Jabbari said she sustained from Majors; text messages in which Majors appears to plead with her not to go to the hospital for injuries she may have received from him; and video of Majors appearing to push Jabbari into a car on the night of the assault in March. The prosecution also played audio of a phone call in which Majors refers to himself as a “great man,” criticizes Jabbari for going out with friends, and tells her to behave like Michelle Obama or Coretta Scott King.

In the first week of the trial, Jabbari testified that she struggled to get help throughout what she characterized as an abusive relationship with Majors because she feared getting him in trouble. Jabbari said that Majors warned her against trusting the police because of “what they would do to him as a Black man.” She told the jury, “I wanted to say: ‘Help me, please.’ But I felt scared to do that. … I loved him still, it was so confusing and I didn’t want to get him in trouble.” On their end, Majors’ legal team alleged that Jabbari was the aggressor in the relationship: “Jonathan Majors is innocent and Grace is a liar,” Priya Chaudhry, Majors’ lead attorney, said point-blank during closing arguments last week. Majors has previously filed a counter-claim that Jabbari is the one who assaulted him, resulting in her October arrest. But the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in October declined to prosecute Jabbari, determining there was “no prosecutorial merit” to Majors’s allegations.

Dr. Nicole Bedera, a sexual violence researcher, told Jezebel that Majors’ lawyers deployed “DARVO” (deny, attack, reverse victim and offender) against Jabbari: “It’s about bringing up things the victim has done to suggest the victim is not a perfect victim, they’re not a deserving victim, they’re not a good victim,” she said. “Sometimes they deny the abuse happened, and sometimes they just deny that it was wrong, because it was actually ‘self-defense.’”

Courthouse News reports that Majors’s sentencing hearing will take place on February 6.

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