ROCHESTER, New York — A man accused of assaulting New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin at a recent campaign rally told investigators he had been drinking that day and didn’t know who the congressman was, authorities said after the man was arrested on a federal assault charge on Saturday.
David Iakubonis, 43, appeared in court Saturday before a federal magistrate in Rochester, New York, on one count of assault with a dangerous weapon on a member of Congress. The charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
He was held pending a bail hearing in federal court on Wednesday. Prosecutors said he should remain in custody as a flight risk and dangerous, according to court documents. Assistant federal public defender Steven Slavinski, representing Iakubonis, said in an email to The Associated Press that he plans to ask the judge to release Iakubonis from custody.
Yakubonis was charged Friday with a separate count of attempted second-degree assault and was released by a local judge. That drew criticism from Zeldin and other Republicans, who pointed to it as an example of the need to reform New York’s bail laws, something Zeldin urged Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul to toughen.
A 2019 bail reform law in New York eliminated pretrial detention for people charged with most nonviolent crimes. The law allows judges to set bail in almost all cases involving serious crimes, but there are exceptions for some attempted crimes, such as attempted assault.
The federal criminal complaint filed Saturday alleges that Iakubonis, an Iraq War veteran, told investigators he had been drinking whiskey Thursday before taking the stage as Zeldin addressed a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in the city Perinton to ask the speaker if he disrespects veterans.
According to the complaint, Yakubonis “did not know who the speaker was or that the speaker was a political figure.” The complaint added that when Yakubonis watched video of the incident Thursday night, he told investigators he “should have passed out” and that what was depicted in the video was disgusting.
According to a video of the attack, Yakubonis raised his hand to Zeldin while holding a key ring with two sharp points. The Long Island congressman then grabbed Iakubonis’ wrist and the two wrestled to the ground as others jumped in to help. Zeldin, who also served in the army, received a slight abrasion.
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The attacker “didn’t know who” Zeldin was
Source link The attacker “didn’t know who” Zeldin was