July 24 – A man accused of trying to stab Republican U.S. Representative and New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin this week was arrested on Saturday on federal charges of assaulting a member of Congress with a dangerous weapon, authorities said.
David Jakubonis, 43, of Fairport, appeared before a judge Saturday and was ordered held pending a bail hearing Wednesday.
As Zeldin gave a speech in his bid for governor on Thursday, Jakubonis climbed onto the stage, grabbed Zeldin by the right arm, and held out a key chain with two sharp prongs toward him, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York said. Zeldin, who grabbed Jakuboni’s left arm, remained unharmed.
During the holdup, which took place in upstate New York, Jakubonis repeatedly said “you’re done,” the complaint filed Saturday and signed by an FBI agent said.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jakubonis on Thursday, but he was later released. Jakubonis waived his rights and told sheriff’s investigators that he served one tour in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War, the complaint said. Jakubonis told sheriff’s investigators he asked Zeldin if he disrespected veterans, it said.
Jakubonis stated that he had been drinking on the day of the incident and did not know who the speaker was or that he was a politician.
US law imposes enhanced penalties for assaulting a member of Congress and does not require the government to prove that the defendant knew the victim of the assault was a member of Congress.
Zeldin pushed the suspect away before both men fell to the ground as several others tried to subdue the suspect, video footage posted on social media Thursday by witnesses showed.
Court records showed that Jakubonis requested a court-appointed attorney and that a detention hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.
Zeldin complained about the initial release of Jakubonise. “New York’s cashless bail law Must be repealed,” Zeldin tweeted Saturday. In his battle against Democrat Kathy Hochula, Zeldin said New York’s bail laws need to be strengthened to make it easier for judges to hold suspects accused of some crimes.