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New York Man Charged in Attack on GOP Candidate for Governor

·1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- A 43-year-old man accused of attempting to stab Representative Lee Zeldin, the Republican nominee for governor of New York, was charged in federal court on Saturday with assaulting a member of Congress using a dangerous weapon.

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David G. Jakubonis, of Fairport, N.Y., faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of wielding a sharp object at Zeldin during a campaign event near Rochester on Thursday night, the Department of Justice said in a press release. Zeldin wasn’t injured.

Jakubonis approached Zeldin, 42, while he was speaking, “extended a keychain with two sharp points toward him and grabbed his arm,” the release said. A struggle ensued, bystanders intervened and Jakubonis pulled Zeldin down, stating “you’re done,” according to the DOJ.

Jakubonis was arrested shortly after the incident by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. It’s unclear how he intends to plead to the federal charge and whether he has obtained a private attorney. He’s being held pending a detention hearing on Wednesday, the DOJ said.

Zeldin’s opponent in the gubernatorial race, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, condemned the attack and said violent behavior “has no place in New York.”

Zeldin, a lawyer and former US Army intelligence officer, has made public safety a central issue in the race, attacking Hochul for not doing enough to tackle gun violence and other types of crime.

While New York’s crime rate is lower than the national average, the pandemic brought an uptick in violent crimes like shootings and assaults.

In 2021, Zeldin joined with more than 100 Republicans House colleagues in voting against certifying Joe Biden’s victory as US president.

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