Republican Representative Lee Zeldin was attacked by David Jakubonis during a campaign stop. Jakubonis, who was initially released, was arrested on Saturday on a federal assault charge.
Jakubonis, a 43-year-old man, ran onto the stage where Zeldin was giving a speech on Thursday night outside of Rochester, New York. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York Jakubonis was arrested on Saturday.
‘The first thing I saw was that he was wearing a hat that says he was a veteran and the way that I’m wired when I see somebody wearing a hat that is a veteran – my guard couldn’t possibly be more dropped,’ Zeldin said at a Friday press conference.
‘But at the same exact time. I noticed he had a weapon in his hand and it had two holes where he had two fingers through the holes. It had two sharp dagger-like edges on it and he was telling me “you’re done.'”
Jakubonis was arraigned at Perinton Town Court and charged with attempted assault in the second degree. He was released on his own recognizance.
Ironically, Zeldin’s speech highlighted the Republican’s opposition of New York’s bail reform laws, eliminating cash bail for nonviolent and misdemeanor charges.
And he was. Jakubonis was arraigned Friday on a separate state charge of attempted assault in the second degree and was released by a local judge.
Jakubonis is accused of attempting to use $10 cat “self-defense knuckles” with two sharp pointed ends while allegedly threatening Zeldin – a Republican gubernatorial candidate for New York. The incident was captured on video and showed the suspect being taken down before real damage could have been done.
Zeldin issued a statement after the incident:
I’m thankful that federal authorities came in to do what New York State’s broken pro-criminal justice system could not – uphold the rule of law. The state must start prioritizing the safety of law-abiding New Yorkers over criminals. Cashless bail must be repealed and judges should have discretion to set cash bail on far more offenses.
Jakubonis told investigators that he had been drinking that day and didn’t even know who Zeldin was before the attack. The charge carries a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.