Jonathan Majors trial: Prosecutors allege 'manipulative pattern' of abuse toward ex-girlfriend

PHOTO: Jonathan Majors, center, arrives at court for a trial on his domestic violence case, Dec. 4, 2023, in New York.PlayYuki Iwamura/AP
WATCH A look at Jonathan Majors’ high profile criminal trial

Marvel star Jonathan Majors inflicted a "manipulative pattern of psychological abuse" and physical abuse on his former girlfriend that culminated with a March 25 assault in a for-hire Cadillac Escalade -- after she caught him cheating -- that left her with bruising, substantial pain and a laceration to her ear, a prosecutor said Monday during an opening statement at the actor's criminal trial.

Prosecutor Michael Perez said the actor's girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, was "stunned" when she saw a message pop up on Majors' phone from a woman named Cleopatra that said "wish I was kissing you." When Jabbari grabbed the phone to read the message, Majors "began grabbing Ms. Jabbari's body," Perez said during his opening statement.

"He grabbed and squeezed her hand, her right middle finger specifically" and then "struck a blow that swiped across the right side of her head," according to Perez.

Meanwhile, the defense claimed Monday that Jabbari slapped, clawed and otherwise physically attacked Majors so blatantly that night the driver of their for-hire SUV called her "psycho girl."

Defense attorney Priya Chaudhry said Jabbari emerged unscathed and unhurt while Majors was left bloodied and ran to a hotel to hide from her.

Jabbari was seen on video "drinking champagne and doing shots" at a club for the next three hours, "taking smiling photos" with people she had just met, according to Chaudhry.

The defense said there is no evidence Jabbari was bleeding, had a single mark on her body or a broken finger that night.

PHOTO: Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court for a trial on his domestic violence case, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in New York. Yuki Iwamura/AP
Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court for a trial on his domestic violence case, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in New York.

"This is a case about the end of a relationship, not about a crime," Chaudhry said, telling the jury that Jabbari made false accusations after Majors "cancelled her Mrs. Majors plan."

The defense cast Jabbari as a jealous, intoxicated party girl so obsessed with Majors she called him 32 times after he broke off their relationship and sent him messages that said "I guess you're with Cleopatra now," referring to the woman whose message touched off the physical altercation in the SUV.

"Even though the world may see him as a movie star, he is a normal person," Chaudhry said of Majors. "His career was unstoppable until he ended the relationship with Ms. Jabbari and she made these false allegations."

Prior to the start of opening statements, the two sides agreed to consolidate the multiple assault counts against Majors into a single count. He also faces aggravated harassment charges after the prosecutor said he "used both his hands to pick Ms. Jabbari up and shove her back into the SUV."

The 34-year-old actor has pleaded not guilty.

All of the charges are misdemeanors. Majors faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

PHOTO: Actors Jonathan Majors, left, and Meagan Good arrive at court for a trial on his domestic violence case, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in New York. Yuki Iwamura/AP
Actors Jonathan Majors, left, and Meagan Good arrive at court for a trial on his domestic violence case, Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, in New York.

The judge appointed Juror No. as 1 as the foreperson. She is a registered nurse from Puerto Rico whose cousin is a police officer. She said she had not seen prior coverage of the case.

Majors, who arrived Monday morning with his girlfriend, the actress Meagan Good, was seated at the defense table between his attorneys, listening intently to the assistant district attorney's opening statement without betraying any emotion or expression.

The alleged assault revealed Majors' "true self" after beginning the relationship with Jabbari by showering her with love, gifts and affection, Perez said.

Majors has cast Jabbari as the aggressor in the incident. His attorney, Chaudhry, previously said Majors is heard on police body camera footage telling officers "She slapped me" and "She ripped my coat" before they arrested him. The defense has claimed that authorities failed to properly evaluate his account before moving forward with misdemeanor charges.

Jabbari herself was arrested in October in New York on multiple charges, though the Manhattan district attorney's office subsequently said it decided not to prosecute her because the case "lacks prosecutorial merit."

His opening statement was briefly interrupted by construction noise outside 100 Centre Street. The judge asked a court officer to close the windows, which, when accomplished, led to a round of applause in the courtroom.

PHOTO: Actor Jonathan Majors arrives to court in Manhattan, N.Y., for the start of opening arguments in his domestic abuse trial, alongside girlfriend Meagan Good, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023. ABC News
Actor Jonathan Majors arrives to court in Manhattan, N.Y., for the start of opening arguments in his domestic abuse trial, alongside girlfriend Meagan Good, on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks, the judge said.

Majors is known for his roles in the "Ant-Man" films, as well as starring in the Disney+ TV show, "Loki."

In the villainous role of Kang the Conqueror, Majors is scheduled to appear in "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" and "Avengers: Secret Wars."

Disney is the parent company of Marvel and ABC News.