CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The man accused of attacking author Salman Rushdie on Friday at the Chautauqua Institution pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, a Class B felony, and assault during his arraignment on Saturday, according to Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt.
“The individual responsible for the attack yesterday, Hadi Mattar, has now been formally charged with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second Degree,” Schmidt said in a statement Saturday morning. “He was arraigned on these charges last night and remanded without bail.”
Schmidt provided an updated statement Saturday afternoon.
“Hadi Matar appeared at arraignment and pled not guilty to the charges of Attempted Murder in the 2nd degree for the attack on Mr. Rushide and Assault in the 2nd degree in regards to the injuries Mr. Reese sustained in the attack. He has been remanded to the Chautauqua County Jail without bail.”
Schmidt said he was on-scene immediately after the attack to view the evidence and work on obtaining a search warrant for further investigation. The search warrant was reportedly executed Friday night and is ongoing.
“We are working closely with State Police, our local police agencies and federal law enforcement partners to fully develop the evidence,” Schmidt said. “We have been in touch with our counterparts in the State of New Jersey where the attacker is from to share information and assist them in helping us to better understand the planning and preparation which preceded the attack so that we and the different agencies involved can determine what, if any, additional charges should be asserted.”
The Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office says Matar has no prior criminal record. A Class B felony holds a maximum sentence of 25 years behind bars.
The FBI was also on scene on Friday, but it is unclear if any federal charges will be brought against Matar.
Matar was born in New Jersey to parents who emigrated to the United States from Lebanon, according to the Associated Press.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.