The man who attacked Rep. Lee Zeldin during a campaign speech on Thursday blamed the shocking incident on the bottle, claiming that he didn’t know who the congressman was and that he was disgusted by video of him storming the stage.
David Jakubonis of Fairport, NY, a troubled 43-year-old Army veteran told investigators that he had been drinking whiskey on the morning that he attacked the Republican lawmaker who is running for to be New York’s next governor at a rally near Rochester, telling investigators that he “must have checked out” before he lunged at Zeldin.
The news of Jakubonis’ side of the story broke on the day that he was arrested and charged federally for attacking a congressman using a dangerous weapon, a pointed, hardened, self-defense keychain that he was prepared to stab Zeldin with but was foiled when he was subdued by attendees of the rally before he could do so.
He was arrested after the attack but was released on his own recognizance shortly afterward by a New York prosecutor, resulting in outrage from many including target of his attack who vowed to fire district attorneys who don’t enforce the law if he is elected governor.
Jakubonis would be arrested a second time Saturday afternoon on a federal assault charge after an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York, “U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that David G. Jakubonis, 43, of Fairport, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with assaulting a member of Congress using a dangerous weapon. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.”
“During the event, Congressman Zeldin was speaking from the bed of a flatbed trailer. Jakubonis walked onto the trailer, approached the Congressman, extended a keychain with two sharp points toward him and grabbed his arm. A struggle then ensued between Congressman Zeldin and Jakubonis and, as bystanders intervened, Jakubonis pulled Congressman Zeldin down onto the bed of the trailer, stating several times during the assault, ‘you’re done.’ Jakubonis was subdued and arrested,” the statement reads.
Zeldin took to Twitter after Jakubonis was arrested to express gratitude to the feds while slamming the state’s criminal justice system.
“The US Atty arrested the person who tried stabbing me at our campaign rally. Grateful they came in to do what NY’s broken pro-criminal justice system could not – uphold the rule of law. Cashless bail must be repealed & judges need discretion to set cash bail on far more crimes,” he wrote.
The US Atty arrested the person who tried stabbing me at our campaign rally. Grateful they came in to do what NY’s broken pro-criminal justice system could not – uphold the rule of law. Cashless bail must be repealed & judges need discretion to set cash bail on far more crimes. pic.twitter.com/PDd9STJmJU
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) July 24, 2022
On Saturday, Zeldin also tweeted an image of the New York Post’s cover story on Jakubonis’ quick release, a glaring example of how Democrats have broken the justice system.
“New York’s cashless bail law MUST be repealed!” Zeldin wrote, an idea that will be a major selling point of his gubernatorial campaign that will likely appeal to New Yorkers who are sick and tired of being victimized by criminals who have been emboldened by the actions of “woke” politicians.
New York’s cashless bail law MUST be repealed! pic.twitter.com/ip3B14PWoW
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) July 23, 2022
According to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office document of the interview of Jakubonis, he said “that he drank whiskey on the day of the incident; that he walked up onstage at the event and asked the speaker if he was disrespecting veterans; that he had a self-defense key chain when he went up onstage; and that he did not know who the speaker was or that the speaker was a political person.”
Jakubonis also “stated, in sum and substance, that what was depicted in the video was disgusting and that he ‘must have checked out’ according to the document.
Jakubonis had serious issues with alcohol abuse as well as mental health according to a former neighbor who told the New York Post, “He’s going through some kind of mental break.”
“He became more and more detached over the years after his wife died,” said the ex-neighbor who did not want to be named due out of fears of reprisal.
“He’s a peculiar guy, he has social issues,” said the former neighbor. “He would say or do things like an adolescent would do,” saying that Jakubonis and his deceased wife were both heavy drinkers.
“I believe he still drinks a lot,” the ex-neighbor added.
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