Trial of man charged with stabbing Salman Rushdie may be delayed until author’s memoir is published

Jan 2, 2024, 2:48 PM

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (AP) — Salman Rushdie’s plans to publish a book about a 2022 attempt on his life may delay the trial of his alleged attacker, which is scheduled to begin next week, attorneys said Tuesday.

Hadi Matar, the man charged with repeatedly stabbing Rushdie as the author was being introduced for a lecture, is entitled to the manuscript and related material as part of his trial preparation, Chautauqua County Judge David Foley said during a pretrial conference.

Foley gave Matar and his attorney until Wednesday to decide if they want to delay the trial until they have the book in hand, either in advance from the publisher or once it has been released in April. Defense attorney Nathaniel Barone said after court that he favored a delay but would consult with Matar.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 8.

“It’s not just the book,” Barone said. “Every little note Rushdie wrote down, I get, I’m entitled to. Every discussion, every recording, anything he did in regard to this book.”

Rushdie, who was left blinded in his right eye and with a damaged left hand in the August 2022 attack, announced in October that he had written about the attack in a memoir: “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder,” which is available for pre-order. Trial preparation was already well under way when the attorneys involved in the case learned about the book.

District Attorney Jason Schmidt said Rushdie’s representatives had declined the prosecutor’s request for a copy of the manuscript, citing intellectual property rights. Schmidt downplayed the relevance of the book at the upcoming trial, given that the attack was witnessed by a large, live audience and Rushdie himself could testify.

“There were recordings of it,” Schmidt said of the assault.

Matar, 26, of New Jersey has been held without bail since his arrest immediately after Rushdie was stabbed in front of a stunned audience at the Chautauqua Institution, a summer arts and education retreat in western New York.

Schmidt has said Matar was on a “mission to kill Mr. Rushdie” when he rushed from the audience to the stage and stabbed him more than a dozen times until being subdued by onlookers.

A motive for the attack was not disclosed. Matar, in a jailhouse interview with The New York Post after his arrest, praised late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and said Rushdie “attacked Islam.”

Rushdie, 75, spent years in hiding after Khomeini issued a 1989 edict, a fatwa, calling for his death after publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which some Muslims consider blasphemous. Over the past two decades, Rushdie has traveled freely.

Matar was born in the U.S. but holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, where his parents were born. His mother has said that her son changed, becoming withdrawn and moody, after visiting his father in Lebanon in 2018.

National News

Associated Press

Move over grizzlies and wolves: Yellowstone visitors hope to catch a glimpse of rare white buffalo

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Standing at the edge of a bluff overlooking the Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park, A.J. Ammond stared through binoculars at hundreds of buffalo dotting the verdant valley below. Tan-colored calves frolicked near their mothers while hulking bulls wallowed in mud. As his wife and young children clustered behind […]

6 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge says trial is required to decide government’s antitrust case over Google’s advertising tech

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday said the government’s antitrust case against Google over its advertising technology will go to trial in September, rejecting both sides’ request to rule in their favor as a matter of law. The Justice Department and Google had been expected to make their arguments seeking summary judgment […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Vermont governor vetoes data privacy bill, saying state would be most hostile to businesses

Vermont’s governor has vetoed a broad data privacy bill that would have been one of the strongest in the country to crack down on companies’ use of online personal data by letting consumers file civil lawsuits against companies that break certain privacy rules. Republican Gov. Phil Scott said in his veto message late Thursday that […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Couples ask judge to find Alabama law that provides legal immunity to IVF providers unconstitutional

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Couples whose lawsuits against fertility providers led an Alabama court to rule that frozen embryos could be considered children have asked a judge to toss out a new state law that provides legal immunity to in vitro fertilization providers. The couples asked the judge to declare that the law — which […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Lynn Conway, microchip pioneer who overcame transgender discrimination, dies at 86

Lynn Conway, a pioneer in the design of microchips that are at the heart of consumer electronics who overcame discrimination as a transgender person, has died at age 86. Her June 9 death was announced by the University of Michigan, where Conway was on the engineering faculty until she retired in 1998. “She overcame so […]

3 hours ago

Image: The Supreme Court building can be seen from a distance on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washin...

Associated Press

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on bump stocks, gun accessory

The Supreme Court has struck down a ban on bump stocks, an accessory that allows semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns.

3 hours ago

Trial of man charged with stabbing Salman Rushdie may be delayed until author’s memoir is published