Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) was “lunged” at Thursday by a potential attacker. He told investigators that “he didn’t know” who the speaker was, and had been drinking whiskey earlier in his day.
David Jakubonis (43), Fairport, New York was arrested on Saturday with both state-level attempted assault in second degree and federal assault charges.
Jakubonis was initially released by himself after allegedly trying to attack the congressman during a Fairport gubernatorial event on Thursday. However, he was taken into custody again on Saturday and charged for assaulting a member or Congress using a dangerous weapons. This carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
Witnesses claim that Zeldin, 43, was speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post Event about bail reform when Jakubonis (43), allegedly got up on the stage and “lunged at” the candidate for governor with a knife in his hand.
According to video, Jakubonis can be heard repeatedly saying “you’re finished” as he “lunges” towards Lee. Zeldin continued his speech after several people helped to take down Jakubonis.
In a criminal complaint, the prosecution states that Jakubonis admitted to investigators that he had been drinking whiskey the day before the incident. Jakubonis then walked up to the stage at the event and asked the speaker if he “disrespects veterans”.
Jakubonis also claimed that he carried a “self defense key chain” with him when he entered the stage. However, he didn’t “know who the speaker or if the speaker was political,” according to the complaint.
Jakubonis stated that he had not seen the incident video and also said that the video’s content was disgusting.
Jakubonis will be present at a hearing for detention on July 27.
Zeldin’s campaign stated that he was “thankful” for federal authorities coming in a Saturday statement.
“I am grateful that federal authorities arrived to fix New York State’s broken criminal justice system. They uphold the rule and law. The safety of law-abiding New Yorkers must be prioritized over criminals. Zeldin stated that cashless bail should be abolished and that judges should be able to place cash bail for far more offences. ”
Zeldin’s campaign shared a photo with Fox News Digital, which appears to show the blade used by the alleged attacker. The victim is being restrained in this picture.
According to a statement, Zeldin, Esposito, and campaign staff were not hurt in the incident.
Following the incident, the congressman tweeted that New York’s cashless bail should be abolished.
New York’s 2019 bail reform law eliminated cash bail for most felonies and misdemeanors.