New trial date set for man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie

The trial of Hadi Matar, the man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie, is scheduled to begin on September 9, according to the prosecutor’s office and Matar’s defense attorney.

In August 2022, Rushdie was stabbed several times onstage shortly before he was due to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Matar, then 24, pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault, CNN previously reported.

Matar’s trial was initially set for January 8, 2024, but was delayed so his defense could try to obtain information connected to Rushdie’s new memoir “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder.”

Rushdie and Henry Reese, the event moderator who was also injured in the attack, are both expected to testify in the upcoming trial, the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office confirmed in an email.

Rushdie lost an eye in the incident, where he was stabbed 15 times in 27 seconds by his attacker, who only stopped when audience members pulled him away, he said.

The 76-year-old novelist – the son of a successful Muslim businessman in India – is widely regarded as one of his generation’s most important authors, but has received death threats ever since his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses.”

In a phone call with CNN on Tuesday, Matar’s defense attorney Nathaniel Barone expressed concern about the ability to seat an impartial jury.

“The scene of the incident is literally just five minutes away, it’s right down the road,” he said, adding that he plans to request a change of venue for the trial.

Barone said federal officials have also been conducting a “worldwide investigation” into Matar, now 26, but there has not yet been a federal indictment.

“I’m getting ready for trial, I’m getting ready to file every motion I have to make, and that’s how we’re approaching it,” he said.

Previously, Barone told CNN that Matar has maintained his innocence.

“The one thing I’ve stressed throughout this is, everyone is entitled to their day in court, and there’s the presumption of innocence that’s the most important constitutional right that we can have, any one of us,” he said in October.

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