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Feds rearrest US congressman’s attacker — Analysis

Following his state release, the attacker who attempted to attack a New York governor was charged with federal offenses

After attempting to stabbing Lee Zeldin, New York’s gubernatorial hopeful, the man was released quickly and is facing federal charges. He could also face a long sentence in prison.

According to a statement by US Attorney Trini Ros in Rochester, New York, the suspect was taken into custody by federal authorities and charged with assaulting Congressman using a dangerous weapons. He could face a maximum of 10 years imprisonment if he is convicted.

Jakubonis, who was being held on a charge of state assault and released without any bail requirements, was arrested one day later. After being held for just six hours, he was released under the 2020 state law which prohibits New York courts from mandating bail on nonviolent crime suspects.

Apparently because Jakubonis didn’t succeed in stabbing Zeldin – he was pulled to the ground and apprehended after approaching the candidate on stage with a double-pronged weapon – he was charged with attempted assault, which is categorized as a nonviolent offense under New York law.

Zeldin’s supporters, such as state Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy, pointed to the case as an example of  how public safety has been shrugged off in New York under Democratic Party leadership, including incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul. “Only in Kathy Hochul’s New York could a maniac violently attack a candidate for governor and then be released without bail,” Langworthy said.

This might seem like the end of the story, but Zeldin is also a member of Congress and has represented Long Island since 2015. While trying to stab a garden-variety politician would be a matter left exclusively to state law enforcement authorities, it’s a federal felony to assault a member of Congress.

Jakubonis (a US Army veteran of 43 years) will be in federal custody through Wednesday. His bail hearing is set for next Wednesday.

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