Attempted mugger Lee Zeldin told investigators he ‘didn’t know’ the speaker’s identity


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The would-be assailant who “pounced” on Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y., Thursday told investigators he “didn’t know” who the speaker on stage was and said he had been drinking whiskey earlier in the day.

David Jakubonis, 43, of Fairport, New York, has been charged with state-level charges of attempted second-degree assault as well as a federal assault charge announced Saturday.

Jakubonis was initially released on his own accord after he allegedly attempted to attack the congressman at a gubernatorial campaign event in Fairport on Thursday, but was taken back into custody on Saturday and charged with assaulting a member of Congress using a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Zeldin was at the post-Veterans of Foreign Wars event to deliver a speech on bail reform on Thursday night when Jakubonis, 43, reportedly took the stage and ‘rushed’ the gubernatorial candidate with a blade in hand, according to witnesses.

LEE ZELDIN ATTACK SUSPECT ARRESTED ON FEDERAL ASSAULT CHARGE

Congressman Lee Zeldin stands on stage during his stump speech, ahead of an alleged attack on him, in Fairport, New York, U.S. July 21, 2022.
(Ian Winner/Handout via Reuters)

As Jakubonis “rushed” towards Lee, he can be heard saying “you’re done” multiple times, according to the video. After several people helped take out Jakubonis, Zeldin returned to the stage and continued his speech.

Prosecutors say in a criminal complaint that Jakubonis told investigators he was drinking whiskey the day of the incident and took the stage at the event to ask the speaker if he was “missing respect to veterans”.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y., was attacked during a gubernatorial campaign stop in Perinton, New York on Thursday night where an individual allegedly pulled out a sharp object.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y., was attacked during a gubernatorial campaign stop in Perinton, New York on Thursday night where an individual allegedly pulled out a sharp object.
(Ian Winner)

Jakubonis also said he had a ‘self-defense keychain’ when he took the stage, but he didn’t ‘know who the speaker was or that the speaker was a political person’, according to the complaint.

When he showed the video of the incident to investigators, Jakubonis said he “had to check it out”, also saying the content of the video was disgusting.

Jakubonis will appear in a detention hearing on July 27.

In a statement on Saturday, Zeldin’s campaign said it was “grateful” that federal authorities intervened.

“I am grateful that federal authorities stepped in to do what New York State’s failing pro-criminal justice system could not uphold the rule of law. The state must begin to prioritize the safety of law-abiding New Yorkers from criminals. Cashless bail must be repealed and judges should have the discretion to set cash bail for many more offenses,” Zeldin said.

The Zeldin campaign shared an image with Fox News Digital that appears to show the blade that was used by the alleged attacker, who is restrained in the photo.

NEW YORK GOP GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE LEE ZELDIN ATTACKED IN CAMPAIGN STOP

New York's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Representative Lee Zeldin, was attacked by a gunman during a campaign stop Thursday night.

New York’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Representative Lee Zeldin, was attacked by a gunman during a campaign stop Thursday night.
(Zeldin Campaign)

Zeldin, Esposito and campaign staff emerged unscathed from the incident, according to a statement.

The congressman tweeted that cashless bail “must” be repealed in New York after the incident.

“After being charged with a felony for last night’s attack, the man who attempted to stab me was immediately released to the streets due to New York’s senseless cashless bail law. We MUST repeal cashless bail in New York!” Zeldin said.

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The potential aggressor who "leaps" to Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y., told investigators Thursday that he "I did not know" who was the speaker on stage and said he had been drinking whiskey earlier in the day.

The would-be assailant who ‘punched’ at Rep. Lee Zeldin, RN.Y., told investigators on Thursday he ‘didn’t know’ who the speaker on stage was and said he had been drinking whiskey earlier in the day.
(Department of Justice)

A 2019 bail reform law in New York eliminated cash bail for most non-violent crimes and misdemeanors.

Fox News’ Maria Paronich contributed to this report.


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