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Attacker Rushdie is accused of attempted murder and assault News, Sports, Jobs




Law enforcement officers detain Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, NJ, outside Chautauqua Institution, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, in Chautauqua, NY. Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked and apparently stabbed in the neck on Friday by Matar, who rushed the stage as he prepared to deliver a lecture at institute in western New York. (Charles Fox via AP)

MAYVILLE – A 24-year-old New Jersey man is being held without bail in the Chautauqua County Jail after being charged with the attempted second-degree murder of internationally renowned author Salman Rushdie.

The attack happened during a lecture before 11 a.m. Friday at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater. A bleeding Rushdie, 75, was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was on a ventilator on Friday night, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm and an eye he was likely to lose.

Hadi Matar of Fairview was arraigned by Judge Marilyn Gerace. In addition, he is being charged with second-degree assault on Ralph Henry Reese, 73, who was also on stage with Rushdie at the event.

“We’re still piecing things together and looking at the evidence.” said Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt, who said his office is in the process of seeking additional charges “proof” under investigation.

Matar is represented by Ned Barone, Chautauqua County public defender.

Barone pleaded not guilty on behalf of Matari during a hearing on Saturday. Matar appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask. His hands were handcuffed in front of him.

Chautauqua Institution continues to move carefully in preparation for Saturday’s events. The community affairs forum at 2pm and the Chamber Music performance at 4pm have both been cancelled.

Additionally, access to the grounds is restricted to permit holders, those who reside or rent on the grounds, and staff. Attendants must visit the Ticket Office for credentialing and a photo ID is required. “We ask for patience and understanding as we navigate this horrific event with law enforcement and officials.” said the institution on its Facebook page.

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