The man who allegedly tried to stab Republican nominee for New York governor Lee Zeldin with a knife-edged knife during a campaign blackout on Thursday was released from prison on a felony charge within hours of his arrest — exactly. as Zeldin had predicted.
David Jakubonis, 43, of Fairport, New York, was arraigned overnight in Perinton Town Court for a second-degree attempted assault as a result of the attack on Rep. Zeldin, however, was quickly released on his own admission.
In a tweet following the violent incident in Monroe County, Zeldin, who is running as a hard-on-crime candidate against incumbent Democratic government Kathy Hochul, said he expected his alleged attacker to be back on the streets in no time.
“His words when he tried to stab me a few hours ago were ‘you’re done’, but several in attendance, including @EspositoforNY, rushed into action and tackled the man,” the hopeful governor tweeted early Friday. “The police were on the scene within minutes. The attacker is likely to be released immediately under New York law.”
Critics on Twitter reacted with a mix of disbelief and dismay at the news of the suspect’s swift release.
“This man tried to stab a man running for the governor and is back on the street?!?” Desi Cuellar, a GOP congressional candidate from Queens, tweeted. “New York has really become a sick place run by criminals!”
Ben Domenech, editor-in-chief of The Spectator magazine, wrote: “Try to stab a GOP congressman on stage, and be released on your own admission. New York, everyone.”
Erin Perrine, the spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump, also weighed in, “Really sad to see how much my home state supports criminals more than victims.”
Zeldin, a sitting US congressman from Long Island, was making a dumb speech about bail reform in Perinton, New York, when confronted by Jakubonis.
The 43-year-old man, who is reportedly a war veteran in Iraq and allegedly intoxicated at the time, was seen on video jumping on stage and lunging at the candidate with an unknown weapon in the shape of a cat’s face with two sheets.
“I saw that he” [was] as I approached the congressman, I jumped on the podium,” witness Joe Chenelly told The Post.
After a brief struggle between the suspect and Zeldin, Chenelly, a veteran, tackled the aggressor to the ground.
Chenelly told Rochester First that when he later spoke to Jakubonis and discovered that the suspect had served in Iraq, he promised to help him.
“When he said he had served in Iraq, I got on my knees and said, ‘You know, we’ll get through what you’ve done here tonight. You’re going to get better and focus on that. You can contact me after this is done,” Chenelly, who is running for the state meeting, told the outlet.
Jakubonis was detained by a number of witnesses, including GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor Alison Esposito.
Zeldin was unharmed and resumed his speech after Jakubonis was led away by police officers.
Later on Thursday, Zeldin told The Post via text message that he was “OK” and described the incident as “crazy”.
Hochul, who will face Zeldin in November, condemned the attack on her opponent.
“My team informed me about the incident at Lee Zeldin’s campaign event tonight. Relieved to hear that Congresswoman Zeldin was not injured and that the suspect is in custody,” she said in the tweet. “I condemn this violent behavior in the strongest possible terms – it has no place in New York.”