ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A man who allegedly accosted U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin on stage as the Republican campaigned for governor will remain in custody while a federal judge considers his lawyer’s plea to release the Army veteran, who he said was in an alcoholic relapse.
David Jakubonis faces a federal count of assaulting a member of Congress with a dangerous weapon for the attack July 21 in the Rochester area. The charge carries a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
At a detention hearing Thursday, a prosecutor argued Jakubonis should be held as a danger to the community who lunged at a congressman with a dangerous weapon.
The incident happened as Zeldin, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul this November, was addressing a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in the town of Perinton, outside Rochester.
The alleged attacker climbed onto a low stage where the congressman spoke to a crowd of dozens, flanked by bales of hay and American flags. A video posted on Twitter shows the two falling to the ground as other people try to intervene.
The accused attacker swung his weapon toward Zeldin’s neck and told him, “You’re done,” according to the sheriff’s spokesperson, Deputy Brendan Hurley.
Among those who helped to subdue the attacker was Zeldin’s running mate, former New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Alison Esposito, said state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy.