Jonathan Majors was found guilty of two of the four counts he faced.
Credit...Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times

Marvel Will Part Ways With Jonathan Majors After Guilty Verdict

Mr. Majors was convicted of misdemeanor assault and harassment for attacking his girlfriend in a car. The company dropped the actor shortly after.

by · NY Times

Jonathan Majors, who was one of Hollywood’s fastest-rising stars before misdemeanor domestic-violence charges halted his ascent, was found guilty of assault and harassment on Monday for attacking his girlfriend in a car in Manhattan.

Shortly after a six-person jury in Manhattan announced the verdict, Marvel Studios parted ways with the actor, a spokeswoman for the company said.

The jury acquitted Mr. Majors on two counts that had required prosecutors to show that he had acted with intent — one of assault and one of harassment. But jurors found Mr. Majors guilty on the two other charges after more than five hours of deliberation.

The verdict thwarted Mr. Majors’s hopes of salvaging his career by proving his innocence in the March altercation. His future in the film industry is now clouded, and he could face just under a year in jail. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 6.

Mr. Majors, 34, wearing a gray suit and gray suede shoes, did not visibly react to the verdict, other than to squint slightly and to wrinkle his forehead. He left the courthouse without comment.

The jurors found him guilty of reckless assault and harassment after a whirlwind two-week trial in which the actor, like most defendants, did not testify. Instead, the courtroom heard from his now ex-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari, 30, who described in detail the altercation that left her ear bloody and finger fractured.

On her first day of testimony this month she gave jurors a full account of what happened, speaking publicly for the first time about the episode. She said that Mr. Majors had received a flirty text from another woman, and that she had grabbed his phone out of his hand. First, she said, he tried to pry her fingers away; then he twisted her hand and her arm.

“Next,” she said, “I felt like a really hard blow across my head.”

Eventually, she said, Mr. Majors asked the driver to stop the vehicle. Video that jurors watched showed Mr. Majors jumping out, followed by Ms. Jabbari. He turned around, picked her up and placed her back in the car, appearing to push her back in when she tried to get out.

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, said in an email that the trial had demonstrated the psychological and emotional abuse that is “far too common” in domestic violence cases. He thanked the jury for its service and Ms. Jabbari “for bravely telling her story despite having to relive her trauma on the stand.”

Mr. Majors’s lawyers had argued that it was Ms. Jabbari who had assaulted their client, and they unleashed a fusillade of attacks on her before and during the trial, casting her as a liar who sought revenge on Mr. Majors after he strayed. They asked jurors to focus on Ms. Jabbari’s actions after her altercation with the actor: She had run into three strangers, who attempted to console her, and then had gone out clubbing with them, returning home hours later.

But prosecutors urged jurors to remain focused on what had happened in and directly outside the car, and Mr. Majors’s arguments appeared to fall flat. A judge prevented the actor’s lawyers from detailing evidence that convinced at least one police detective that there was probable cause to arrest Ms. Jabbari in October, months after the incident.

A lawyer for Mr. Majors, Priya Chaudhry, was defiant in a statement, arguing that jurors had not believed Ms. Jabbari’s story “because they found that Mr. Majors did not intentionally cause any injuries to her.”

“We are disappointed, however, that despite not believing Ms. Jabbari, the jury nevertheless found that Mr. Majors was somehow reckless,” she said, again accusing Ms. Jabbari of attacking him. She added that Mr. Majors “still has faith in the process and looks forward to fully clearing his name.”

In a statement, a lawyer for Ms. Jabbari, Brittany Henderson, said that the verdict had shown that “no abuser, no matter how powerful they may seem, is above the law.”

“Ms. Jabbari hopes that her actions will inspire other survivors to speak out and seek justice,” she said.

It was an unusual proceeding — few defendants charged with the crimes that Mr. Majors was facing choose to go to trial; most plead guilty to lesser offenses instead. But the actor had held out hope that his name would be cleared, so that he could revitalize his career.

Mr. Majors first gained attention in 2019 with the independent film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and quickly expanded into blockbuster movies, delivering acclaimed performances in “Creed III” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

A star vehicle, “Magazine Dreams,” about a troubled aspiring bodybuilder, was acquired by Searchlight Pictures, a Disney subsidiary, at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It was originally scheduled to be released this fall and was widely considered an Oscar contender. But the studio removed it from its calendar in October amid the actor’s legal troubles. The company declined to comment on the verdict.

Marvel Studios had intended to build several films around the villainous character he played in “Quantumania” and had been waiting for the outcome of the criminal case before deciding whether to continue. Mr. Majors was scheduled to lead “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” which had been scheduled for 2026.

The studio will now move forward with the movie without Mr. Majors, said the company’s spokeswoman, Angela Shaw. It recently hired the screenwriter Michael Waldron to work on a new script.

Even before the verdict, the trial had damaged Mr. Majors.

The courtroom heard a recording that Ms. Jabbari said she made in which Mr. Majors directed her to treat him the way that Michelle Obama and Coretta Scott King had treated their husbands. Jurors saw a text exchange in which Mr. Majors urged Ms. Jabbari not to seek treatment for a head wound and threatened suicide.

The prosecutors, Kelli Galaway and Michael Perez, used that evidence to argue that Mr. Majors had been a controlling and manipulative boyfriend and that the attack in the S.U.V. in March was the culmination of a lengthy period of abuse.

Ms. Galaway, in her closing argument last week, urged the jury to believe Ms. Jabbari, asking jurors what she stood to gain as she lived through assaults on her character.

“She would not be able to fabricate this story,” Ms. Galaway said.