Fairport man accused of trying to attack Rep. Lee Zeldin now faces federal charge

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A Fairport man now faces a federal charge in addition to the state charge already filed against him earlier in the week, after he allegedly tried to attack New York gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said on Saturday that 43-year-old David Jakubonis was arrested and charged with assaulting a member of Congress using a dangerous weapon.

Jakubonis already is facing a state charge of attempted assault after the incident on Thursday night, when Monroe County deputies say he had a hardened plastic keychain that has two sharp points, designed for self-defense.

At a campaign rally outside a VFW post in the Town of Perinton, deputies said that Jakubonis climbed up on the stage and approached Zeldin, swinging the keychain towards Zeldin’s neck and told him, “You’re done.” Members of the audience and campaign staffers helped to restrain Jakubonis until deputies took him into custody. There were no injuries.

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Photo included in the federal complaint filed Saturday shows David Jakubonis with the keychain device that has the two sharp points authorities have talked about. (U.S. Attorney’s Office Of Western NY/Provided Federal Complaint)

According to the federal complaint, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigators later interviewed Jakubonis who told them he was previously in the U.S. Army and served one tour during the Iraq war, and that he walked up onstage at the event and “asked the speaker if he was disrespecting veterans.”

The federal complaint states that Jakubonis told sheriff’s investigators that “he did not know who the speaker was or that the speaker was a political person.” According to the complaint, Jakubonis also told the investigators that he drank whiskey on the day of the incident. The complaint also states that when shown a video of the incident by investigators, Jakubonis basically said that what was depicted in the video was disgusting and that he “must have checked out.”

Jakubonis was released Friday on his own recognizance. On Saturday, he made an initial appearance in federal court in Rochester and authorities say that he is being held pending a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning.

If convicted of the federal charge, the U.S. attorney for Western NY said that the charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Zeldin released a statement Saturday saying that he was “thankful that federal authorities came in to do what New York State’s broken pro-criminal justice system could not – uphold the rule of law.”

He called for cashless bail to be repealed and for judges to have discretion to set cash bail “on far more offenses.”

The federal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western NY is below: