MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) – Those prosecuting the man accused of attacking a world-renowned author at the Chautauqua Institution are requesting additional time to review documentation, after recording over 30,000 pieces of evidence in the case.
According to New York’s discovery law, prosecutors have 30-days to turn over evidence to a defendant’s legal team. In the case against Hadi Matar, the man accused of stabbing Salman Rushdie at Chautauqua last month, the DA’s office is asking more time due to the massive amount of evidence collected during the police investigation.
On Wednesday, Matar appeared before Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley for an evidence discovery conference.
Last month, the 24-year-old was formally indicated by a Grand Jury on second-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault, both felonies, in connection with the alleged August 12 attack.
Since then, DA Jason Schmidt says law enforcement have collected over 30,000 pieces of various evidence, like witness testimony, videos and photographs, which takes time to review for both his office and Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone.
“It’s an issue for us, we’re understaffed, we have 13 attorneys’, including myself, we cover a lot of courts in this county with those, we only have four felony prosecutors in the office,” said Schmidt. “We are looking at how we can rededicate certain staffing resources to this case alone.”
“We review everything,” explained Barone. “And, not only review everything we get, but do our own investigation, and that’s for a number of different reasons, but most importantly, we have to corroborate.”
The DA filed what’s known as an “order to show cause,” where, next Tuesday he will argue for more time. Additionally, the DA is expected to ask for a protection order for some of the evidence, which if approved, would seal it from the defense.
As for a timeline for trial, Matar’s attorney says he expects the case to be argued sometime next spring or summer, once these initial proceedings wrap up and a final date can be set.