MAYVILLE, New York — The trial of Hadi Matar, the man accused of stabbing renowned author Salman Rushdie, is set to be delayed as Rushdie prepares to publish a memoir about the attack. Chautauqua County Judge David Foley ruled on Wednesday that Matar is entitled to preview Rushdie’s manuscript and book notes before the trial begins.
Matar, a 26-year-old from New Jersey, has been held without bond since his arrest and is facing charges of attempted murder and assault. The trial in upstate New York was scheduled to start on January 8th, but it is now likely to be postponed to allow the defendant time to review Rushdie’s materials.
Both sides of the case became aware of Rushdie’s forthcoming book just a few days before the trial was set to begin. Matar’s defense attorney, Nathaniel Barone, stated that he would consult with his client given the extensive amount of materials that needed to be examined. Barone stressed that it was not just the book, but also every note and discussion related to it that they were entitled to access.
Rushdie’s legal team previously denied a request from prosecutors to obtain a copy of the manuscript, citing intellectual property rights. District Attorney Jason Schmidt, however, argued that the book would have little impact on the trial and that it was being overhyped. He pointed out that the attack was extensively documented and witnessed by a live audience.
The 76-year-old author suffered serious injuries from the attack, including the loss of his right eye, liver lacerations, and severed nerves in one of his arms. Nevertheless, Rushdie eventually recovered and announced 14 months after the incident that he had written a book titled “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder” to share his experience.
Salman Rushdie, known for his controversial novel “The Satanic Verses,” has faced threats and attempts on his life throughout his career. In 1989, Iran’s Supreme Leader at the time, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called for Rushdie’s death, leading to years of hiding and heightened security for the author. The stabbing attack in New York raised suspicions about Iran’s involvement due to their historical antagonism towards Rushdie.
In conclusion, the trial of Hadi Matar, accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie, will likely be postponed as Rushdie’s forthcoming memoir about the attack becomes a key element of the case. The defendant will have the opportunity to review Rushdie’s manuscript and book notes before the trial begins. This development adds another layer of complexity to a case that has drawn international attention and underscored the dangers that authors like Rushdie may face for their work.