Man accused of attacking New York Rep. Lee Zeldin faces federal charge

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The man accused of attempting to stab U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin at a campaign event in New York this week is now facing a federal assault charge. 

David G. Jakubonis, 43, of Fairport, N.Y., was arrested Saturday and charged with assaulting a member of Congress using a dangerous weapon. The federal charge came just hours after being released on his own recognizance after his arraignment on a separate state charge of attempted assault in Perinton Town Court. 

The new federal charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison if Jakubonis is convicted.

Jakubonis is accused of walking up to a flatbed trailer where Zeldin, a Republican who is running for New York governor, was speaking Thursday evening. Authorities said he jumped up onto the trailer while holding a keychain with two sharp points, and grabbed Zeldin, shouting, “You’re done!” as the two struggled. 

According to the federal complaint, Jakubonis told police that he drank whiskey that day. He said “that he did not know who the speaker was or that the speaker was a political person,” the complaint states.

He told authorities “he ‘must have checked out,'” the complaint notes.

Earlier Saturday, law enforcement sources told CBS News that, on the night of the attack, Jakubonis exhibited signs of intoxication when he was taken into custody by Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies, and told authorities he had been drinking. The judge issued a stay-away order of protection. A search warrant of Jakubonis’ residence turned up no guns or other weapons.

The state charge of attempted assault in the second degree is a felony and does not qualify for bail to be set under New York state bail reform laws, a law enforcement official said.

Jakubonis made his initial appearance in federal court in Rochester, and he remains in custody until his next federal court hearing scheduled for July 27. He is also due back in state court on the attempted assault charge Aug. 30. 

Pat Milton contributed to this report.

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