Actor Jonathan Majors appears in court as jury selection begins in New York assault trial

NEW YORK — Actor Jonathan Majors appeared in court in New York on Wednesday for the start of jury selection in a trial in which he is accused of injuring his then-girlfriend during an argument last spring.

The trial could play a big role in what happens next for Majors, who had emerged as a breakout star with major roles in films like “Creed III” and was being set up as the next big supervillain in the Marvel multiverse.

The 34-year-old actor entered a Manhattan courtroom with his current girlfriend, actress Meagan Good, carrying a Bible and one of his signature coffee cups. He said nothing during the start of the procedure.

Majors was arrested in March following a confrontation between the actor and Grace Jabbari, his girlfriend at the time, during a car ride in Manhattan.

Prosecutors said Jabbari took a phone from the actor’s hand after seeing a text message, believed to be from another woman, that said, “I wish I kissed you right now.” Majors tried to get the phone back.

Jabbari said the actor pulled her finger, twisted her arm behind her back and punched her in the face. After the couple’s driver stopped the car and the couple got out, Jabbari said Majors threw her back into the vehicle. Police said Jabbari was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

The major’s lawyers have maintained that Jabbari was the aggressor during the fight and had scratched and punched him. They claimed Wednesday that police who responded to the scene did not interview Majors and that Manhattan prosecutors have refused to review evidence showing he was the victim.

Jabbari was also briefly arrested by New York City police last month after Majors cross-complained her, but the district attorney’s office dropped all charges against her the next day.

On Wednesday, the judge, Michael Gaffey, described Jabbari’s brief arrest as “highly unusual,” suggesting Majors’ celebrity status may have played a role in police’s decision to charge his accuser three months after the incident.

“Did this only come about because of the high-profile nature of the case?” Gaffey asked the court. “If this was a needy, everyday New Yorker, would this arrest have happened?”

Majors is charged with felonies, including assault, and could be sentenced to up to a year in prison if convicted.

Before jury selection began Wednesday, attorneys for Majors successfully tried to keep the public and press out of the courtroom to discuss evidence in the case that has not been made public. The attorney, Seth Zuckerman, warned that the evidence “could irreparably taint the jury pool for Mr. Majors,” adding that his client may “be tried by the newspaper.”

Gaffey agreed, saying the potentially “inflammatory” evidence should be discussed behind closed doors so it would not be reported in the media before the start of the trial.

The Manhattan district attorney has not taken a position on this. An attorney hired to represent the press, Katherine Bolger, opposed the move to seal evidence, noting that the public had a right to know the evidence in the case.

Majors starred in the Marvel TV series “Loki” and the movie “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” and was awaiting the release of another star vehicle, “Magazine Dreams,” which is now in limbo.

He is known for carrying a coffee cup on the red carpet and conducting media interviews, one of which he walks through, symbolizing his mother’s long-ago advice: “Don’t let anyone fill your cup.”