The man accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, appeared in court on Wednesday morning.
We were present in the courtroom for the hearing and have more on the ruling.
Judge David Foley ruled a gag order will stay in effect. Court officials said that the defendant has the right to a fair trial, and that they are working to preserve the integrity of the Salmon Rushdie attack case.
According to law enforcement, on Friday, Aug. 12, the defendant, Matar, allegedly stabbed Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution.
Chautauqua County Judge David Foley kept a gag order in place on Wednesday. This order restricts court officials and law enforcement from discussing the case with the press.
“Our concern was being able to preserve Mr. Matar’s constitutional rights, as I’ve indicated time and time again, to a fair trial, due process, you know he’s presumed innocent,” said Nathaniel Barone, Chief Public Defender, Chautauqua County.
Matar was arraigned last Thursday, and at the time Judge Foley imposed a temporary gag order.
The defense believes the continued gag order will prevent potential jurors from having an opinion before the trial even begins.
“The more that gets out there it’s going to be much more difficult for people not to see something, and secondly the more they see, the more they hear, the more they’re exposed to things, it’s going to make it much more difficult not to have a formed opinion,” said Barone.
The Chautauqua County district attorney said that the judge’s ruling to keep a gag order in place is helpful in conducting a fair trial.
“The judge is having a legitimate concern in maintaining the integrity of the proceedings. If you were to look at it there is a conflict between the defense’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial and the Freedom of the Press. So there’s some balancing that has to be employed here,” said Jason Schmidt, Chautauqua District Attorney.
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Matar is being held at the Chautauqua County Jail without bail.