Jonathan Majors after being found guilty in Manhattan of misdemeanor assault and harassment of his ex-girlfriend.
YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images
Majors was found guilty last month of a reckless, misdemeanor assault on his ex-girlfriend.Now, he wants a judge to permanently seal secret pre-trial proceedings concerning his private life.These records contain unauthenticated accusations the DA was barred from showing jurors, he argues.
As he braces for sentencing on his Manhattan domestic violence conviction, Marvel actor Jonathan Majors hopes to avoid some serious collateral damage — the potential release of what his lawyer calls “unproven, unauthenticated” accusations about his private life, made by prosecutors in secret pretrial filings and court hearings.
Media outlets, including Business Insider, have asked that these filings and transcripts be unsealed, now that their contents can no longer influence a jury.
But Majors has asked a judge to keep them sealed permanently, arguing that their release could cause him even more harm than his actual sentencing, currently scheduled for February 6.
The subject matter of these sealed allegations has not been revealed, beyond that it falls under the legal category of prior bad acts.
In June, Rolling Stone cited anonymous claims that Majors had been violent or abusive in two past relationships from his college years, claims the actor denied. And jurors were allowed to hear about one prior fight between Majors and his then-girlfriend, choreographer Grace Jabbari.
“The media has already demonstrated that it has a near-insatiable appetite for salacious gossip concerning Mr. Majors,” attorney Priya Chaudhry argued in the actor’s pending sealing motion before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Michael J. Gaffney.
Majors, who portrayed Kang the Conqueror, has already suffered great reputational harm from last year’s conviction for misdemeanor reckless assault on Jabbari, Chaudhry argued. Majors was essentially banished as an actor from the Marvel Cinematic Universe immediately after his conviction.
Unsealing whatever prosecutors have claimed in sealed filings and hearings about Majors’ personal life — allegations jurors were barred from hearing because they’d be unduly prejudicial — would cause even more “significant concrete harm,” she argued.
Majors, 34, was found guilty on December 18 of a reckless misdemeanor assault on Jabbari, 31, stemming from a lovers’ quarrel in Manhattan’s Chinatown in March. He was also convicted of misdemeanor harassment.
He was acquitted of intentional misdemeanor assault.
Majors’ legal team had argued at trial that he, not she, was the victim of their dispute, and that surveillance video proved her injuries from that night happened hours after the couple parted ways.
“Simply put, acceding to the news organizations’ demands to unseal the records would unleash a bevy of unproven, unauthenticated, and vociferously disputed hearsay allegations,” Chaudhry wrote the judge, in arguing that the filings and transcripts remain sealed.
Majors “would suffer a hefty punishment in the public arena simply because the People had decided to submit character evidence that this Court deemed not relevant enough and too prejudicial to be admitted.”
The bar of what was “too prejudicial” for jurors was already pretty high at trial.
In opening statements, Manhattan prosecutor Michael Perez was allowed to describe Majors as “cruel and manipulative” throughout their relationship.
“He told Grace Jabbari that she needs to live up to the standards of Coretta Scott King and Michelle Obama, to make sacrifices for him, because, he told her, ‘I am a great man,'” Perez told jurors. “He told her that she needed to comport herself in the way he needed her to be.”
Asked for comment, Chaudhry declined, saying “I rely on the papers.” A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond when asked if the office has taken a position on the unsealing.
It’s unknown if the judge will decide the matter from the bench at sentencing or in a written decision.