Jonathan Majors Assault Trial Begins With Judge Ruling on Sealed Evidence

Jonathan Majors returned to New York City Criminal Court for the start of his assault trial, which began Wednesday after numerous delays. Jury selection is expected to start in the late afternoon.

Majors arrived in a lower Manhattan courtroom, wearing a grey suit and carrying a bible, notebook and mug, around 9:52 a.m. He was holding hands with girlfriend Meagan Good, who has attended several court appearances with Majors.

More from Variety

The Marvel actor was arrested in Manhattan on March 25 after an alleged domestic dispute with his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. Majors has pleaded not guilty to the four charges of assault and aggravated harassment that have been leveled against him; a fifth charge of strangulation has been dropped. He faces up to a year in jail if he’s convicted.

Much of the morning was spent debating the defense’s motion to request that “contested evidence” remain under seal and barred from public view due to the ”high profile” nature of the case and allegations against Majors. Members of the media filed a motion to oppose this ruling, which applies to a single pre-trial issue and not the entire trial.

Defense attorney Seth Zuckerman told Judge Michael Gaffey that he believes the disclosure of sensitive information will “deprive” his client of the right to a fair trial. “There are no alternatives,” he asserted. He believes the sealed information would “have a highly prejudicial impact on the jury no matter what.”

Attorney Katherine M. Bolger, who represented the news entities who filed the motion, said she wasn’t privy to the sealed information but argued that press should have access on behalf of the public. “We urge you to reject this,” she said to the judge. “For any closure, there needs to be on-the-record filings.”

The judge moved to seal the hearing as well as the documents on this issue because it’s “the only way to prevent tainting the jury pool.” The information will become public if the evidence is found to be admissible for trial.

Later, Gaffey informed Majors that the trial will proceed regardless of whether he appears in person. The judge added that Majors is under no obligation to testify during the trial.

At the time of Majors’ arrest in March, Jabbari told officers that she was assaulted and taken to the hospital with “minor injuries to her head and neck” after an alleged altercation in a taxi. Defense attorneys for Majors alleged it was Jabbari who assaulted Majors, and “not the other way around.”

In April, Jabbari was granted a temporary order of protection, which means the two parties cannot have any direct or third-party contact. The order remains in place.

Jabbari was arrested on Oct. 26 and charged with assault and criminal mischief in connection to the March incident, according to the New York Police Department. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office said it “declined to prosecute the case against Grace Jabbari because it lacks prosecutorial merit.” The matter is now closed and sealed.

In the wake of the allegations, Majors has been cut from feature film projects and dropped by his PR team at the Lede Company, as well as his management, Entertainment 360. WME still represents the actor. He has a major role, as the villainous Kang the Conqueror, in Disney’s sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.