Author Rushdie says he will testify in Chautauqua stabbing

Pictured is a screenshot of author Salman Rushdie on Good Morning America, who appeared on the program Monday. During his interview he said he plans on testifying in Chautauqua County Court regarding the attack on his life in 2022.

In a nationally televised interview, Salman Rushdie said he expects to testify in Chautauqua County Court regarding the attempt on his life nearly two years ago.

The international author was on multiple television news programs over the last couple of days, promoting his new book “Knife” which details the attack on his life while at Chautauqua Institution Aug. 12, 2022.

During the attack at the Amphitheater, which lasted 27 seconds, a number of people in the audience rushed the stage and held down the attacker until police and paramedics responded.

SThe suspect, Hadi Matar, was immediately taken into custody and is facing attempted murder charges. He is being represented by county Public Defender Nathaniel Barone.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt wanted to go to trial in January, however County Court Judge David Foley agreed to delay the trial until after the defense requested an opportunity to review Rushdie’s new book. His publishers declined to release an advance copy, citing intellectual property rights.

According to the New York Unified Court System, Matar is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 10.

On Sunday, Rushdie sat down with 60 Minutes’ Anderson Cooper for a lengthy interview about his book, which is being released today, April 16. That was his first televised interview since the attack.

The next day, Rushdie was interviewed on Good Morning America by George Stephanopoulos.

During that interview, he discussed the upcoming trial. “I believe the DA wants me to testify and so I will. That’s OK. There’s nothing I will say on the witness stand that I haven’t already said in this book,” he said.

In both CBS’ 60 Minutes and ABC’s Good Morning America interviews, Rushdie, who says he does not proclaim to be a believer in the afterlife, said he had a “premonition” about being attacked before his visit to Chautauqua Institution.

Rushdie said shortly before his visit he had a bad dream where he was in an amphitheater and was stabbed. “In my dream it was like the Coliseum, like a Ridley Scott movie, and there was a gladiator with a spear stabbing downwards, and I was running around on the ground. I woke up from the dream quite alarmed. At first I thought ‘I don’t want to go’ (to Chautauqua) and then I thought ‘Don’t be stupid, it’s a dream.’ You don’t run your life because you had a bad dream,” he said on Good Morning America.

Stephanopoulos asked Rushdie if that dream tempted him to believe in the supernatural, to which the author responded, “I mean for a minute I did. And then I didn’t and maybe I should have.”

Rushdie received a dozen stab wounds from the attack. He was shown on television wearing a black patch on the right lens of his eyeglasses, covering his right eye, which no longer functions. He also has visible scars on his face and his neck.

In 1988, Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” was published. A year later, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, calling for the death of Rushdie and the book’s publishers, saying the novel was an insult to Islam.

Afterward Rushdie went into hiding with around the clock police protection for 10 years. He eventually moved to the United States, where he believed he would be safe. He had made several public appearances without incident.

In the interview on 60 Minutes, Rushdie said he rarely uses private security and relies on hosts for his protection. “What happens in many places that you go and lecture is that they’re used to having a certain degree of security, venue security. In this case, there wasn’t any,” he said.

Immediately after the 2022 attack, State Police said they had a trooper assigned to the event. Chautauqua Institution also has its own community safety officers.

Since the attack, the Institution had implemented different rules for security, including requiring clear bags for those attending events on the grounds.


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