Man accused of stabbing renowned author Salman Rushdie rejects plea deal that tied in federal terrorism-related charge

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On Tuesday, the individual accused of attacking renowned author Salman Rushdie, resulting in the loss of vision in one eye, declined a plea bargain that would have linked a federal terrorism-related charge to a reduced state prison sentence, according to the defendant’s legal representative.

Rushdie, 75, has faced threats for decades due to his writings and was stabbed multiple times while preparing to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York on August 12, 2022. The suspect, Hadi Matar, has entered a not guilty plea to state charges of attempted murder and assault.

Under the proposed agreement, Matar would have received a 20-year sentence for the top state charge, with the understanding that he would also plead guilty to a federal charge, potentially carrying additional prison time. The defense attorney, Nathaniel Barone, stated that the focus has shifted to trial preparation, which will require several months leading up to jury selection, scheduled for September 9.

The trial was initially set for January 8 but was delayed due to a request by the defense. Barone clarified that Rushdie’s upcoming memoir about the attack and his recovery was not the reason for the delay, but the defense is entitled to information related to the book’s drafting and publication.

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