The man who attacked Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin has been hit with a federal assault charge.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York announced on Saturday that police arrested David Jakubonis, the 43-year-old man who attacked Zeldin with a sharp weapon at a campaign stop on Thursday, on federal assault charges. The arrest comes after Jakubonis had been released from jail without posting bail due to the state of New York’s bail reform laws. He had already been charged with “attempted assault in the second degree on the state level,” as reported by Fox News.
Prior to Jakubonis’ release, Zeldin predicted that New York’s bail reform laws would allow him to temporarily walk free, prompting conservatives to call for federal charges. Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) also argued that the charge of “attempted assault” was far too lenient in light of the fact that Jakubonis had told Zeldin “you’re done” before lunging a sharp object at the candidate’s neck.
“Frst of all, why was this person charged with attempted assault? It was attempted murder. He said, ‘You’re done.’ … And he had a dangerous weapon in his hand. And then also, Lee Zeldin, my colleague…is also a sitting member of Congress. There is a federal statute…that covers that. This is a felony under federal statutes,” Tenney told Fox Business.
“Where is [Attorney General] Merrick Garland? Where are the local [U.S. Attorneys] in New York State…the FBI? Why aren’t they protecting this Congressman whose life was threatened at a rally, at a public rally?” she continued.
Zeldin also blasted the media’s lack of coverage of the attack, saying it would be different if he had been a Democrat.
“I mean, I’ve been in Congress now — this is my fourth term, and over the course of these years, when you look at the Steve Scalise shooting, you look at Maxine Waters calling from — for confrontation from supporters [of] Trump administration officials at restaurants and movie theaters, or the Supreme Court justices who were being attacked at their homes and their residence, this doesn’t fit the narrative,” he told Fox News.