The driver, speaking to the jury through an Urdu interpreter, was the only witness beyond the former couple to witness the alleged incident
In opening statements, prosecutors said the driver had described Majors throwing Jabbari “like a football,” and, in turn, Majors’s defense lawyers said the driver had called Jabbari a “psycho-girl.”
But that was all in pre-trial statements made in English. In court Monday, Naveed Sarwar, speaking through an Urdu interpreter, made no such colorful comments.
“He was not doing anything,” Sarwar said of the actor, referencing a set of interactions between the couple in the car that night. Then of Jabbari, he said: “She was doing everything."
Majors is facing charges of assault in the third degree with intent to cause physical injury, assault in the third degree recklessly causing physical injury, aggravated harassment in the second degree and harassment in the second degree, in connection with an alleged fight between him and Jabbari that spilled onto the streets of Chinatown in March.
Majors, who faces up to a year behind bars if convicted, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Last week, over four days of testimony, Jabbari told the jury that her boyfriend of more than a year and a half had often slipped into easy “rage and aggression,” during their relationship, and that on March 25 they had gotten into a physical altercation, leading to his arrest.
Describing that night, Jabbari said that after an evening out, the couple was inside a hired car, heading back to the penthouse they shared, when she had overseen a flirtatious text message from another woman on Majors’s phone. She said she had snatched the phone from his hands, and that in response Majors had twisted her right arm and as she curled her body “just trying to protect myself,” she said she felt “a really hard blow against my head" that “took me aback.”
The following day, Jabbari went to the hospital and was treated for a hairline fracture to a bone in her middle finger and a cut to her ear.
The defense’s lengthy cross-examination of Jabbari, which the judge said lacked specificity, opened the door to prosecutors sharing text messages previously deemed inadmissible last week. In those texts, Majors appeared to admit to physically attacking Jabbari during a previous altercation.
On Monday, when Assistant District Attorney Michael Perez asked the driver — who had taken the former couple to a play at Brooklyn Academy of Music, followed by a dinner out — if he had seen Jabbari “hitting the defendant,” Sarwar, who said he was looking straight ahead and describing interactions only as they sounded to him, said: “Many things were happening, I had the feeling the girl had hit the boy.”
On several occasions throughout the driver’s testimony, the judge reminded him: “You can only testify to what is happening, not what you think happened.”
Reviewing video surveillance footage of the couple’s hired Cadillac Escalade, parked on Canal and Centre streets, Sarwar, speaking through his interpreter, said that at one point he had stopped the car, and Majors had gotten out: “He was trying to get rid of her.”
“Please keep your opinions to yourself,” Perez directed the witness.
“He was trying to get rid of her,” Sarwar repeated to laughs from the rows of Majors’s supporters seated behind him. The driver added: “He was saying, ‘Leave me alone, I have to go.’”
“He was not doing anything,” Sarwar said shortly after. “She was doing everything.”
One of Majors’s defense lawyers, Priya Chaudhry, shook her head, smiling as she quickly typed notes on her laptop.
Sarwar also noted that Majors was “trying to throw her in the car,” when Jabbari had attempted to follow him out of the vehicle: “He was trying to push her into the car," and that the couple had eventually “both left” on foot.
Throughout the driver’s testimony Monday afternoon, Majors leaned back in his chair between his two lawyers, one arm stretching over the chair of his other defense lawyer, Seth Zuckerman. In his other hand — tucked under his chin — he held his gold-leafed Bible, a red ribbon dangling from the pages.
At one point, Majors and Chaudhry leaned toward each other and Majors grinned.
Then, as prosecutors played video surveillance from the roadside that March night, Majors made a shrugging motion with his Bible-holding hand, then tucked it back under his chin.
After a lengthy discussion between the two defense lawyers, Majors huddled between them, Majors once shaking his head, Zuckerman stood for a cross-examination of the driver lasting a single minute.
Back in court Monday afternoon, Dr. William Chiang, an expert medical witness in the trial and an attending physician at Bellevue Hospital, where Jabbari was admitted for injuries to her finger and ear the day after the alleged assault, told prosecutors that both of Jabbari’s injuries are "consistent with the narrative” she had shared.
But, on cross-examination he said, the injury to her finger was "inconsistent" with having been caused by someone twisting her finger.
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