Man suspected of attacking Rep. Lee Zeldin arrested on federal charge

July 23 (UPI) -- The man who allegedly attempted 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 a federal assault charge.

David Jakubonis, 43, was charged with assaulting the congressman "using a dangerous weapon" while the lawmaker was speaking from a flatbed trailer outside of Veterans of Foreign Wars hall before bystanders dragged him away, the Justice Department said in a statement. The incident was caught on video by WHEC-TV.


FBI Special Agent Timothy Klapec, in a six-page criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, said that Jakubonis walked onto the bed of the trailer and grabbed Zeldin's right arm as he held a keychain "with two sharp points facing outward."

"During the assault, Jakubonis stated several times, 'You're done,'" Klapec wrote in the court documents.

Jakubonis was arrested at the scene by deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and was hit with state charges for attempted assault in the second-degree but was required to be released without bail because of the state's loose bail laws.


He was arrested again Saturday for the federal charge and made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marion Payson. He is being held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Zeldin, a four-term congressman who represents parts of Long Island, was not injured during the alleged attack.

Jakubonis told investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office that previously served in the U.S. Army and that he had been deployed during the Iraq war, according to the court documents.

Klapec wrote that Jakubonis also told the investigators that he drank whiskey before the incident and had walked onstage to ask Zeldin if he was disrespecting veterans and that he did not know who the lawmaker was.

When shown a video of the incident, Jakubonis allegedly told investigators that 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 reducing crime rates a central theme of his campaign and criticized the state's bail system after Jakubonis was released from custody earlier in the week.

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


"The judges should have discretion to weigh dangerousness. It's about the victim."

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