Friday, August 5, 2022

Man suspected of assaulting Rep. Lee Zeldin arrested on federal charges

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July 23 (News) — The man suspected of attempting to stab Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for governor of New York, during a campaign stop near Rochester on Thursday night was arrested Saturday on federal assault charges.

David Jakubonis, 43, was accused of attacking the congressman “with a dangerous weapon” while lawmakers spoke of a flatbed truck outside the Hall of Veterans of Foreign Wars before bystanders dragged it away, the Justice Department said in a statement. The incident was caught on video by WHEC-TV.

FBI Special Agent Timothy Klapec said in a six-page criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York that Jakubonis walked into the back of the trailer and grabbed Zeldin’s right arm while holding a bunch of keys, “with two sharp ones.” outward points.”

“During the attack, Jakubonis said several times: ‘You’re done,'” Klapec writes in the court documents.

Jakubonis was arrested at the scene by deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and faced state charges of second-degree attempted assault, but was released without bail due to the state’s lax bail laws.

He was arrested again on Saturday on the federal charges and made his first appearance before US Judge Marion Payson. He is being held pending a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Zeldin, a four-year congressman representing parts of Long Island, was not injured in the alleged attack.

Jakubonis told investigators at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which had previously served in the US Army and was used during the Iraq War, according to court documents.

Klapec wrote that Jakubonis also told investigators that before the incident he had been drinking whiskey and went on stage to ask Zeldin if he disrespected veterans and that he didn’t know who the lawmakers were.

When video of the incident was shown to investigators, Jakubonis allegedly said what was shown on the video was “disgusting” and that he “must have checked out,” according to the documents.

Zeldin, who is running against incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, has made cutting crime rates a central theme of his campaign and has criticized the state’s bail system after Jakubonis was released from prison earlier in the week.

“My first and foremost concern about cashless bail and the need to revise it is its dangerousness,” Zeldin said at a rally in Onondaga County, New York, according to CNN.

“The judges should be able to weigh up the level of danger at their own discretion. It’s about the victim.”

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