Actor Jonathan Majors arrived for his domestic violence trial hand in hand with new girlfriend Meagan Good and carrying a Bible — and that's all part of a defendant's legal strategy, a legal expert says.
Outfitted in a double-breasted gray suit with a white shirt and tie and wearing sunglasses, Majors looked ready for business on Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court. What was also apparent was Good's supportive role as he fights misdemeanor assault and harassment charges stemming from a March altercation with his ex-girlfriend Grace Jabbari. Majors and Good, who started dating in May, walked side by side into court with their fingers intwined. Majors, ready for jury selection, carried his Bible and a poetry journal. Good took a seat in the front row of the gallery.
Judie A. Saunders, a former New York City prosecutor who now leads the sex abuse and trafficking department at the law firm ASK LLP, tells Yahoo Entertainment that appearance is everything during a trial.
"That is not by mistake," she says about Majors's supportive partner by his side and his sharp suit. "The law is part theatrics in every sense of the word. All of that is thought about beforehand. When you're talking about a case like this, attorneys, litigators, you focus-group everything down to the detail." You talk about what the defendant will wear — providing a suit for a client without means — as well as make sure they have family and supporters "sitting behind them" in court.
“All of that plays into it, so, yes, Mr. Majors showing up in a steady relationship — that says immediately to a juror or [to] the public: 'This is not someone that women, that others, should be afraid of. He's a normal person. There’s an alternative story that's going on here,'" says Saunders.
Victoria Bekiempis, a New York City journalist who's in court covering the trial, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Majors "entered the courtroom ... wearing his large-lensed tortoiseshell sunglasses." He carried "a Bible, a small notebook and a ceramic cup." Before proceedings began, Majors and Good were "seated in the front row. She's got her arm around him."
According to the Associated Press, the Bible is his personal one, and the small book contains his personal poetry. As for the ceramic drinking vessel, Majors travels everywhere with a mug, including to the Oscars and movie premieres. It stems from advice he has said his mom, a pastor, gave him that reminds him that no one "can big me up, as it were, or tear me down."
While it's a misdemeanor case, one that Saunders tells Yahoo shouldn't last longer than "five to seven days," an attorney for Majors told the judge the prosecution intends to call at least 14 witnesses to testify over at least six days, according to Bekiempis. Then the defense would offer evidence.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe actor, whose future in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty weighs heavily on this trial, is fighting misdemeanor assault and harassment charges stemming from the altercation with now ex-girlfriend Jabarri. The alleged victim, who worked as a movement coach alongside Majors on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, was in a longtime relationship with the actor.
Prosecutors say Jabarri sustained injuries including a fractured finger, bruising about her body, a laceration behind her right ear and a bump on her head during a dispute that began in a private car from a Brooklyn, N.Y., party to their Manhattan apartment. Jabarri allegedly saw a suggestive text message sent to to the Creed III and Lovecraft Country actor and took his phone to see who sent it when things got physical.
Majors's lead attorney, Priya Chaudhry, has maintained the actor's innocence and said he's the victim in all of this. She says she has proof that will exonerate him.
It's expected that the judge will quickly rule on whether the testimony of other women alleging past physical and/or emotional abuse by Majors will be included in the trial. Also, whether a London police report and medical records from an incident said to have involved Majors will be admissible. Additionally, the judge has to determine whether the defense can bring up Jabarri's arrest, stemming from a cross complaint Majors filed against her months after the incident. Prosecutors declined to file charges against Jabarri, saying it lacked "prosecutorial merit."