Jonathan Majors’ defense attorney took a swipe at the Manhattan district attorney’s office in part by focusing on the topic of race after she secured the full acquittal of another high-profile Black male client accused of a violent crime in New York City.
Priya Chaudhry on Friday touted the not guilty verdict for Adam Foss, a former Boston prosecutor and prominent criminal justice-reform advocate charged in 2017 with allegedly raping and assaulting a 25-year-old woman. In doing so, Chaudhry claimed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “ignored” evidence that should have precluded any criminal charges against Foss – claims similar to those she’s made about the district attorney’s office’s case against Majors, who stands accused of domestic violence.
In a pair of separate statements emailed to NewsOne this weekend, Chaudhry also questioned the ethics of Braggs’ office and cited an “eagerness” to bring hasty criminal charges — particularly when a Black man is accused of a violent crime by a white woman.
“Because it was clear to everyone that this case should never have been brought due to the overwhelming evidence of Mr. Foss’ innocence and total lack of credible evidence of the allegations, twice I made outreach efforts directly to DA Alvin Bragg prior to trial, including sending an 8-page letter that laid out the overwhelming exculpatory evidence and critical problems with his office’s troubling conduct in initiating this case,” Chaudhry said in one of two statements emailed to NewsOne this weekend. “DA Bragg totally ignored my outreach efforts and never agreed to even speak with me.”
Similarly, Chaudhry has maintained the innocence of Majors since his arrest in March for allegedly assaulting his then-girlfriend Grace Jabbari. Chaudhry and her team alleged police bias, claiming that the officers present failed to investigate the alleged assault properly and coached Jabbari to accuse the actor of assault. Chaudhry has also claimed to have provided video footage and witness testimonies supporting Majors’ innocence.
Chaudhry used Foss’ acquittal as an opportunity to claim how media coverage of that case pushed storylines that a jury found to be untrue – something the lawyer has also alleged in Majors’ case.
“While initial reports of false allegations against Mr. Foss were widespread and vigorous, the news of Mr. Foss’ acquittal has been met with a noticeable silence, save for mentions by a handful of outlets,” Chaudhry continued. “This selective reporting does not serve the public interest and falls short of the media’s duty to report not just allegations but also resolutions—especially acquittals.”
Chaudhry added: “The narrative around Mr. Foss’ case demands a balanced examination, and we urge all media outlets to fulfill their role in providing comprehensive coverage of the entire story, including his complete vindication.”
Notably, Chaudhry ripped Braggs’ office for allegedly deferring to “social media posts” as purported evidence instead of relying “on a foundation of solid evidence,” saying “it is troubling and undermines the principles of due process and justice.”
That brought Chaudhry to the topic of race.
“Furthermore, there is a concerning trend within the Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s office to weaponize accusations where a Black man is accused by a white woman, casting aside the need for robust evidence in favor of narrative-driven prosecutions,” Chaudhry said. “This represents a misapplication of justice, fueled by societal biases that have no place in a system pledged to fairness and equality.”
Chaudhry went on to accuse Braggs’ office of having “strayed from its mission to impartially uphold the law. Instead, it has drifted toward a path of character assassination and publicity-driven prosecution.”
What is Majors accused of doing?
On March 25, the NYPD arrested Majors outside of his Chelsea apartment.
He and Jabbari allegedly got into a dispute as they were inside a cab riding to Manhattan from Brooklyn. Chaudhry claims Jabbari “was attempting to steal” Majors’ phone when the incident occurred. Chaudhry filed legal documents in Manhattan stating that the cab driver witnessed Jabbari assault the actor around 1 a.m., hours before he was arrested.
After the incident, Jabbari allegedly told police that she had suffered a broken finger and a laceration behind her ear, but Chaudhry said there is video footage to prove that the woman’s statement was “a complete lie.” Security footage obtained by TMZ showed the woman in a nightclub shortly after the incident with Majors using her right hand normally — the same hand that she claimed Majors injured prior to them parting ways earlier in the night.
The opinion of a forensic medical expert has also been touted by Chaudhry as another way to help put an end to claims of domestic assault against Majors, who will be able to file a civil suit against Jabbari if he is found innocent.
In late March, Chaudhry released a screenshot of a text message to Majors in which Jabbari appeared to take the blame for the incident. She allegedly assured the actor that she did not tell the police she was attacked.
“Please let me know you’re okay when you get this,” she allegedly wrote in the texts. “They assured me that you won’t be charged.”
Jabbari allegedly continued: “They said they had to arrest you as protocol when they saw the injuries on me and they knew we had a fight. I’m so angry that they did. And I’m sorry you’re in this position.”
On April 19, Variety reported that more women have come forward with allegations of abuse against Majors. They are cooperating with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Last week, Jabbari was arrested and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault and criminal mischief before Bragg’s office said it “declined to prosecute the case against Grace Jabbari because it lacks prosecutorial merit.”
Even before the surprise arrest of Majors, people in the movie industry were reportedly calling the actor an abuser. Those unfounded accusations were trumpeted even louder shortly after Majors’ arrest in a series of tweets that have since been deleted.
Since the arrest, Majors has been dropped by his reps at Lede and his management company, Entertainment 360. The fate of his future in Hollywood is unclear.
Majors’ trial is set to begin on Nov. 29. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail.
Chaudhry’s past high-profile cases
Chaudhry is described on her website as an award-winning attorney who is “[n]ationally recognized as a premier criminal trial lawyer.” It also says she has worked “over 40 jury trials in over 20 years of practice in some of the nation’s most complicated and high-profile criminal cases.”
One of those cases included Chaudhry representing Paul Haggis when a jury late last year found the Academy Award-winning filmmaker to be liable for three counts of raping and sexually abusing a woman in New York City in 2013. That case was not criminal and was tried in civil court that determined Haggis must pay the woman at least $7.5 million. Four days later, Haggis was ordered to pay her an additional $2.5 million in damages.
Chaudhry said she was “disappointed and shocked” at the verdict that she attributed in part to the “#MeToo movement.”
“No one could have had a fair trial in that courtroom under those circumstances,” Chaudhry said when the verdict was handed down on Nov. 10, 2022. “This is a shameful exploitation of the #MeToo movement where political sentiment trumps facts.”
Chaudhry also defended the currently incarcerated reality TV star Jen Shah in a high-profile criminal case centered on allegations of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with telemarketing and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
In that case, also from last year, Shah — who starred on the show, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City — pleaded guilty, reversing her initial not-guilty plea.